Amsterdam, The Netherlands, September 2016
Simone looks up from her work to me through the open door of her workshop. She just finished her rolled cigarette. It is a perfect hot early September afternoon in Amsterdam. There are less tourists now, though still too many. Just outside the center the area breaths a hipster atmosphere and some inhabitants make a real personal thing from their doorstep, creating small gardens and displaying all sorts of artifacts to make their private spere special.
Bows for violins and other string instruments are her business as well as specialized bow parts and of course the crucial strings. It seemed predestined when she had nearly finished her education in small furniture craft. One day she met the same man five times. This could not be a coincidence. He was a professional bow maker and at the last meeting, they agreed to meet in his workshop.
I became his apprentice and never looked back
This is twenty years now and in the last years, she can make a living of it. She is the only female bow maker in Holland. There is just a handful mastering this special craft. Her customers include some famous players but no, they should not be mentioned. A website would be good for her business, she is working on it, but there is always something else. Most customers come on word of mouth anyway.
Mongolian and Siberian horses
The bowstrings are made from horsetail hair. But not any horse, Mongolian or Siberian horsetail hair makes the best strings. She prefers the white, the black are a bit more brittle but the contrabass players like them. Their bows are shorter but they seem to apply more pressure so they need to be more durable.
Music is not her thing but her father and mother played the violin professionally so in her youth there was no escape. She knows how to play the violin yes but working on the bows gives her the most satisfaction. In the workshop, there is special machinery and she enjoys making small gadgets from steel. She still has no idea what to do with them, maybe she will specialize on custom made jewelry.
Need bowstrings or handmade original bowstring parts?
Van Linschotenkstraat 46 1013PN Amsterdam