Though all of these processes are quite miraculous, I find a great deal of it as lifeless as the made-for-commercial-consumption products it immitates. In this post-digital era, I find myself more than ever enamored with the tactile and the evidence of process.
Don't get me wrong- I like a good gadget/toy. I just happen to find evidence of the human hand in craft ever more satisfying. There was a time when a craftsperson desired perfection in the honing of their craft. I feel that pulling back on perfection is pulling back on that temptation to be more like a machine. Show a pencil mark, show the track of the saw blade, the groove of a carving tool.
This is the new DIY aesthetic. Ironically, the internet allows creative types the world over to teach each other how to carve, how to paint, how to create the dirty old-fashioned way. There have always been makers like these, but somehow they have become more important of late, my cult heroes.
|An incredible find on a very hot day.|
I coaxed this beauty to life by removing, steaming, and flattening the bridge, carving a new cow bone nut and saddle. I love the way it looks and sounds. I wonder about the well worn neck and all of the alley sessions it may have had. I think about the amateur craftsperson who made this instrument that looks so crude yet sounds so sweet.
The second instrument is a guitarron made by the Familia Timaure of Carora, Venezuela. I never traveled to Venezuela, but by the time I received my guitarron I felt like I had! The internet was my passport.
I enjoy playing my upright bass, but at times the size can be a burden. I tried an accoustic bass guitar, but it greatly lacked in volume. I saw guitarrons and wanted to dig deeper and find out all I could. All hail Google. Guitarrons are the giant guitars that the bass player uses in mexican mariachi bands. Since they play in octaves and have very short necks, there would be a steep learning curve. I don't claim to be brilliant, or even the master of my choices, so I set about getting one.
At the time of my search for this instrument, ebay only had two versions. The made- in- China Lucida instrument seemed to be a decent enough starter instrument, but the other listing- this choppy, barely intelligible description paired with photos of the instrument leaning against a couch felt somehow more right.
|Guillerno Timaure y Nieto Adalberto Timaure.|
The guitarron is very well made, but there is evidence of the hand of a human being everywhere. The bindings are wrapped with bands of wood, each chip a little different from the last. You can almost make out the brush strokes of the finish on the wood, and if you look inside, you can see a ghost of a streak of glue here and there. Somehow that just makes it more special.
The next time you buy something hand crafted, try to remind yourself how lucky you are to share that experience with the artist. They likely could have just printed it off for you , but they made it with their own hands.