Bow Making Port Townsend: The Mirecourt of the United States

The discovery of the New World introduced rich alternate in Brazillian Pernambuco wood to Miracourt – organising a legacy of satisfactory bowmaking

Mirecourt, France is well-known for 2 things: Violin and stringed device bow making, and the making of quality lace. That reality is as actual these days because it turned into in the sixteenth century.

But while Mirecourt’s records and the pedigree of its violin bows speak of refinement in the royal courts of European royalty and the aristocracy, it’s no longer without a touch cross-Atlantic controversy. This is due to the supply of the maximum prized primary fabric used in making the best bows through the finest Mirecourt bowmakers (“archetiers” as they’re called). That material is Pernambuco wooden.

When Portuguese explorers “observed” Brazil in 1500, they without delay diagnosed the value of the land’s uniquely stunning timber, specially alongside its coasts. A rich degree of commerce developed, felling the numerous Brazilwoods and shipping them to the Old World. By 1555 the French admiral Nicolas Durand de Villegaignon sought to establish a colony there in part to reap and import the timber.

That became unsuccessful, but exchange among Brazil and Europe in these woods thrived. This term coincides with the upward thrust of professional and famend archetiers and luthiers (violin makers) in Mirecourt. The metropolis turned into a mercantilist middle, related to the rapidly increasing world, buying and selling in merchandise, thoughts and way of life.

Musical tool craftsmanship started to diversify with growing pernambuco cello bow wealth, such that by means of the 18th century bow makers commenced to hone their craft of producing pleasant violin bows. Mirecourt’s history consists of famous architiers of the generation: Dominique Peccatte, Emile Francois Ouchard, Eugene Sartory and Victor Fétique. Jean Baptiste Vuillaume, turned into one of Miracourt’s most renowned violin makers.

The bows from some of those archetiers remain in use these days, some fetching costs as excessive as $forty five,000 at auction and are regularly presented for sale at high-cease violin shops. The Pernambuco deliver is significantly confined today due to overharvesting, so other woods are now used – making the antique masters’ bows even extra in price.

Today, almost 500 years later, Mirecourt remains the bowmaking capital of the arena. While World Wars One and Two created awesome hardships – 18 workshops employing nearly seven-hundred humans in 1925 had disappeared via 1945 – the advent of the National School of Lutherie within the Nineteen Seventies in Mirecourt revived the professions of bowmakers, violinmakers, and even guitar and mandolin makers.

The metropolis these days has a museum devoted to the history of violin making (Musée de l. A. Lutherie et de l’archèterie française), and what’s known as the national violin making excessive faculty named for Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume (Ecole Nationale de Lutherie Lycee Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume). Students on the school spend 5 years earning violin making technical diplomas, artwork exchange stages, and professional flair stages. At least 24 hours per week are spent on benches making units and bows; the school focus is on violins, violas, cellos, double bass and viols.