Friday, May 08, 2009

Artisan No 2 - Richard Wilson - Bowmaker

I went up to Cambridge on Wednesday to photograph Richard Wilson in his studio, where he makes and repairs bows for a wide variety of clients and their stringed instruments. This was my second Artisan shoot, the first being the cabinet maker Keith Platt who is based in the Cotswolds.

Richard spent many years as a musician, traveling constantly before settling down, first as an apprentice bowmaker, and then setting up on his own, and now has twenty years of experience in this specialised and fascinating craft.

I learned that the body of the bow is carved from a single piece of really heavy wood (so heavy it sinks in water!!), which needs to be seasoned for years before use. The five main stages of the process are shown above. Other materials used are ebony, ivory, horsehair and brass.

Richard makes every element by hand mainly using a small plane and a tiny chisel/knife - it is amazing to watch.

I used both my Fuji S5 Pro and Leica M8, two Elinchrom Flash units, one with a softbox, the other with a honeycombe grid, supplemented by a small Nikon SB24 flashgun to give interesting highlights. I show more of the pictures taken in a slideshow.

Other Artisans, I am due to photograph include a Wood Restorer, a Violin Maker, a Stone Carver, a maker of Stained Glass, a rock music sound engineer ( yes! they too craft sound with their hands!!) and a master butcher.

I am seeking more Artisans, based in London and further afield, who are known and respected by their peers and all of whom embody excellence in their craft. Please do contact me if you would like to propose such a person. I plan on building up a portfolio of around twenty Artisans and then exhibiting at a central London Art gallery later this year, and publishing a book as a celebration of the excellence of craftmanship in this country.

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posted by stefan lubo at Friday, May 08, 2009


Blogger Kang the London Eater said...

the last portrait of richard is rather enchanting. love the bokeh you created in his hair.

8:47 am  
Blogger stefan lubo said...

Yup, a Leica Noctilux F1.0 has bokeh galore.

9:19 am  

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