After completing my ‘A’ Levels I studied guitar making at the London College of Furniture (Guildhall University). I returned to the South West of England full of the ambition to spend my life making musical instruments, but soon realised that with my limited resources this was not the road to riches – or even to a decent wage!
I subsequently spent time designing and making furniture and was later employed by a local company to set up their drawing office. By the time I left a few years later, I was the design and production manager, had a load of people working for me and had all of the associated problems and headaches. This was a far cry from guitar making and I didn’t enjoy this period of my career at all. I moved to a much less politically charged and much more enjoyable and fulfilling position designing architectural joinery at a practice in Bath. The work developed across the breadth and span of domestic architecture and I went on to qualify as an Architectural Technologist with the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists. I set up in private practice in the year 2000.
This wasn’t enough for me! In 1999 I started to play the fiddle and this has blossomed, I play rather a lot of music (http://mitchellandvincent.com) and have played festivals such as Glastonbury, many folk festivals and at folk clubs across the UK. I was making and repairing violins in my spare time and I realised that the love of making instruments was still present. I’ve been doing less and less architectural work to the extent that violins are now my main focus. I couldn’t be happier!
I’m a staunch environmentalist and have recently stopped using any tropical hardwood (other than reclaimed) in my instruments. I don’t make to commission, but build the instruments I like and then offer them for sale. The instruments are entirely traditional in construction – even to the extent that I cook my own varnish. Please sign up to my newsletter if you’d like to be alerted to instruments coming up for sale!