Page 109

Portrait

ARTISAN

ODED KISHONY Violin Maker

“How can something so small and compact make such a beautiful sound?” Oded Kishony remembers thinking to himself, upon hearing the violin for the very first time. The violin fascinated him well before he started playing at the age of 12. Growing up the son of a fine cabinetmaker, woodworking was no foreign territory. But as a long-time international airline employee, he had no idea how to go about building a violin other than what he had read. Yet without any prior knowledge, he built three of his own. Forty years later, Oded handcarves each instrument in a style nearly identical to that of the 18th century. He uses traditional tone wood—both spruce and maple—which ideally he likes to age in his attic for five to 10 years before using. The craftsman also makes his own varnish and stains, both of which have ties to the local area. Using raw ingredients—madder root, black tea and pernambuco—he pounds, mashes and then soaks in alcohol to yield a usable form, creating a beautiful rich, red color. Oded discovered

that our own Thomas Jefferson planted madder in Virginia with hopes of growing and exporting it from the colonies. Although the red clay soil was a poor host for the roots, it can still be found along Virginia roadsides. In researching varnish recipes, Oded discovered that the ashes from grape vines, clavilated ashes, were often used as an ingredient in varnish in medieval times. Oded acquires vine waste for his varnish from nearby Burnley and Barboursville Vineyards. “Luca Paschina, Barboursville’s resident winemaker, was extremely nice and generous to share with me,” he says. Who knew that winemaking and violinmaking were so closely intertwined? But Oded is not only a violinmaker, he also makes violas and cellos. Over the years, he has made between 100 and 150 violins and violas, and roughly 50 cellos. This year marks the 40th anniversary since he made his very first violin. Some days Oded still looks to it for inspiration but admits that, “The violin that I last made is always my favorite.”

WORDS BY ELIZABETH MORGAN | PHOTOGRAPHY BY JEN FARIELLO

W&CLiving.com | 107

Profile for Ivy Publications

Wine & Country Living Fall 2016  

Charlottesville Wine & Country Living Fall 2016

Wine & Country Living Fall 2016  

Charlottesville Wine & Country Living Fall 2016