Ever since 2003 ,the first Sweetwater Music Festival held annually in Leith /Owen Sound , artistic director Mark Fewer gave a nod to regional violin makers by including a showcase for new string instruments. When it became clear in 2018, that Mark Fewer was taking on the Stratford Music Festival and would have to hand […]
Acousticians and engineers have been drawn into the field of instrument making and contributed valuable insights. Experience with a myriad of different wood species, wood treatments, variations with measurements of all components make it evident, that no single factor can be understood out of context. Sibylle conceives the structure of the instrument with a system in mind. She takes note of all denominators from materials, arching, ground and varnish making to fitting up.
Sharing a workshop with husband Greg Walke, both benefit from experience and observations. While Sibylle and Greg stock European tone wood, they have grown to like a light but tough Engelman/ white spruce cross from British Columbia. They also scour the local sawmills for clean homogenous red maple.
As an amateur cellist Sibylle is especially drawn to cello making. See the Instrument gallery for some of Sibylle’s violins viola and cello models.
The first years in Canada, Sibylle spent much of her time on repairs and maintenance work, eventually taking on complex rebuilding and restoring tasks. A number of charming but battered old celli were rebuilt, gently wrestled into shape and re-adjusted to play. Sibylle has also done work for Canadian city shops such as the Sound Post in Toronto, Wilder & Davies in Montreal and the Vancouver violin shop.
Today she enjoys maintenance work and bow re-hairs for the musicians of her community in Grey Bruce counties, and takes on occasional restoration challenges. She maintains contact with makers/restorers across the country and has participated in the Banff Restoration courses.
Sibylle offers an annual free checkup to her own instruments.
Sibylle loves the physicality of her work. Living and working near the Bruce she explores the gorgeous landscapes, the waters and the wood yards and meets the area's adamant musicians and talented artisans.
High caliber music making in the region include the annual Kincardine Summer Music Festival (KSMF), Leith and Sweetwater Music Festivals. There she has found over the years feedback and support from exceptionally dynamic explorers such as the Gryphon Trio, the Penderecki Quartet, Scott St. John and Shauna Rolston, Mark Fewer, Denise Djokic, Tom Wiebe and the Lafayette Quartet among others.
Playing in the Georgian Bay Symphony helps her to appreciate the needs of working musicians and to value the opinions of dedicated amateurs.
Recent Posts from the Blog
In the late 90s we acquired most of a flamed maple log locally and convinced the wood dealer to cut it radially. Judging from the structure and bark this appears to be a hybrid of acer rubrum and acer nigrum , definitely a soft maple, which grew remarkably homogenous and clean. At first a […]