Beth Ireland & Keunho Peter Park
Participants learn to creatively design and build fretted string instruments such as dulcimers, banjos, mandolins, ukuleles, and guitars. Through lecture and demonstration, Beth and Peter convey how one’s choice of materials, dimensions, proportion, scale, and fret layout determines sound quality, while sharing straightforward and effective methods of construction.
Each student builds two working instruments. The first is a dulcimer guitar with a diatonic scale. The second is an instrument of their own design with a maximum of six strings and a body made using band-saw box techniques. With extensive one-on-one attention, participants learn to apply the “Rule of 18,” which determines the scale length and fret positioning of all stringed instruments; to cut and shape wood with band saws and stationary sanders; to hand shape a neck to fit their grip; to lay out and install frets and tuners; to make simple custom parts such as nuts, bridges, and tailpieces; and to apply simple finishes, among other skills. This is not a traditional guitar making class, but it gives students a bedrock of experience upon which to acquire those skills, too.
Beth Ireland has been a professional woodworker since 1983, specializing in turning and sculpture. She holds an M.F.A. from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and her work has been widely exhibited and published, including a 2015 profile in American Woodturner. She has also held several prestigious Windgate Fellowships and participated in the International Turning Exchange. Beth’s business encompasses everything from production runs of turned balusters to sculpture to one-of-a-kind stringed instruments. She is the Lead Instructor for our Turning Intensive and teaches turning for the Comprehensive. Beth lives in St. Petersburg, FL and her website is bethireland.net.
Keunho Peter Park is an international artist, woodworker, and instrument maker who teaches at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He holds a B.F.A in painting from South Korea’s Kookmin University and a 2013 M.F.A. in Woodworking and Furniture Design from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Among other honors, Peter received the Emerging Artist Award at the Philadelphia Invitational Furniture show, won a 2015 Wharton Esherick award at the Philadelphia Museum of Art craft show, and served as a Windgate resident artist at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. For more on Peter’s work, visit studiospong.squarespace.com.
Open to all.