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Construction of a new Viola d'amore

A new 6/6 viola d'amore is being built by luthier Olivia Pelling | Finestrings, in collaboration with Canada's Dominion Sculpturer Phil White [Phil's Facebook page. Wikipedia entry.], both in Ottawa, Canada. The instrument will have a Basilisk-fire theme. The Basilisk is the protector creature of my home town Basel, Switzerland, and it breathes fire. It will form a nice complement to the Satyr-Earth instrument commissioned a few years earlier. The Basilisk is a mythical hybrid creature with bird of prey head, furry body, leather/fur wings, bird feet and a dragon tail with a barbed end. Wikipedia image.

Additional pictures of the instrument being built are available on Olivia's tumblr stream.
Entry 1 | Entry 2 | Entry 3 | Entry 4 | Entry 5 | Entry 6 | Entry 7 | Entry 8

Some drawings will help to get an idea of overall Eberle-like body shape, flame motiv on rosette, Basel-crook on tail piece. The flame theme will be carried through on the bridge. The pegs will have the outline of a heraldic shield. The instrument will have a glowing ember dark red oil varnish. Drawings by Olivia Pelling.

The instrument will have a single piece highly flamed Bosnian maple flat-back. Below is the raw wood piece to be used. Photo Olivia Pelling.

Below is Phil's drawing of what the neck and head will look like. The back of the pegbox will be half open.


Raw neck (Photo Olivia Pelling). Additional images here.

The body of the new instrument (Photo Olivia Pelling) Additional images here.

On August 2, 2014,I met with Olivia and Phil in Olivia's shop. Below Olivia, Phil and the neck in the process of being carved next to my two existing instruments (1, 2). In the background on the bench is the body of the new instrument.

Phil, Chris, and myself discussing the progress on the new instrument. Photo by Olivia Pelling.

The top arching is adjusted using templates (Photo Olivia Pelling). Additional images here.

The Finished top plate with details of the Rosette carved by Phil White (Photo Olivia Pelling).
Additional images here.

The finished neck and head (Photos Olivia Pelling)

Body and purfling are completed (Photos Olivia Pelling). Additional images.

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