Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy 2011 From Ron Cook Studios

Here’s hoping that 2011 will be an exciting, eventful (in a good way), and healthy year for all of you reading this. As 2010 comes to a close, I’ve been thinking back on how things came and went and how so much has changed over the year. I reached that age the Beatles used to sing about (“When I’m 64!”, and with that magic number, I’m rethinking my artistic future as well as my arts festival and crafts show excursions.

The economy seems to be kind of improving. Internet sales and commissions were good this year, and I had the biggest year of zither restorations yet, with more coming in around January 2011. But, with money still tight most of 2010, I had a poor showing at the arts festival and crafts shows I went to. I cut back to only three events this year, and will probably do only two in 2011. (My show and gallery schedule is listed on my web site at

My artistic direction is changing. I’m planning and working on more unusual historic instruments, dating from early medieval to late 1800’s. In fact I just finished two yesterday and today. (See below!) My other plans are to make more medieval furniture and even some lighting fixtures. I’ll be taking an extension class at Cabrillo College on creating lighting by working with glass, metal, wood, etc. Should be a fun course.

In the Workshop

Around the beginning of December I got the idea to make two more autoharps. Earlier in the year I made an old style of the Model 73, which is still around today (made in China), but I wanted to make the older ones, that come from around 1880-1885, that only play in one key. The one I finished yesterday is the “Harmonette”, which is a higher pitched autoharp with only 17 strings. It is much smaller than other autoharps and was probably designed for children. The one I finished today is based on the original “Model 1”, the first autoharp developed by Zuckermann Autoharps in Philadelphia (later in Dolgeville, New York). The Model 1 has 21 strings.


The Harmonette is all maple with black walnut trim. The Model 1 has a cherry top and black walnut sides, back, and bridges. It has salvaged ebony binding.

On Exhibit (A Reminder)

The Baulines Craft Guild Master Show is currently on exhibit at the Marin Community Foundation, 5 Hamilton Landing, Novato, CA. It will be showing through March 17, 2011, and the reception is January 13th, from 4:30 to 7:30. The Marin Community Foundation is located just a little way off Highway 101 in what used to be one of the hangers at Hamilton Air Force Base. It’s an interesting place with all the hangers (10 of ‘em) rebuilt and remodeled for businesses. The old air field is being returned to Bay wetlands.

We’re getting ready to spend a few days in San Francisco over Christmas, visiting museums and doing a little last minute shopping around Union Square. It will be nice getting away for the Holidays.

So, to all, Happy Holidays, and have a wonderful 2011!

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