We love this kind of thing.
When we first announced the M&T Craft Research Grant back in 2020, we watched the mailbox with anticipation as applications began trickling in. We were blown away by the thoroughness and thoughtfulness of the applicants, and by the diversity of their areas of study. These applications are delightful to read through but extremely difficult to select from. It is hard to leave anyone out – but we only award two grants per year. So we have to make the choice. It is not easy.
But our first recipient of 2023 stood out. Narelle Freeman, born in Australia but currently located in the Cumbrian countryside in the U.K., has been a luthier for over 20 years. And an area of fascination for her is violin finishes, specifically hand-polished finishes. There are so many factors to consider, and many myths and legends about finishes to weigh. A freelance researcher and PhD student, she will bring her unique perspective into her studies. Proposing a series of experiments with various types of wood, materials, and finishing techniques based on historical accounts, she will seek to understand why and under what circumstances these old methods actually work, and how the beauty of the grain can be best brought forth.
This is going to be some fascinating research to follow. We will keep you up to speed on our blog and on the M&T Daily Dispatch. And stay tuned for the announcement of our second 2023 Craft Grant recipient, likely within the next several weeks. Check out the M&T Craft Research Grant for more information.