The Mohr Bowmaking Workshop - Reflections by Samantha Kadisch
Samantha Kadisch, The Long Island Violin Shop’s very own luthier and bow expert, is on a journey to becoming a bow master! We had the opportunity to learn about her experience becoming a bow maker at a recent workshop she attended on the craft of bow making. Take a look at our exclusive interview and, if you’re due, be sure to schedule an appointment for a rehair with Samantha today!
LIVS: Congratulations on finishing your bow making workshop! Where was the workshop located and for how long were you there for? How many hours a day did you spend working on bows?
Samantha: The bow making workshop was located in Ashland, Ohio in Rodney and Ann Mohr's beautiful McClellen-Clark House; a fully restored 1885 Queen Anne home. The workshop itself was behind the house. This workshop was intensive - only four students were accepted based upon their qualifications. We stayed in Ohio for one week (8/8-8/12), and in that time we easily worked 60 hours at the bench.
LIVS: Were you studying under one "master" or a few? Can you tell us a little bit about them and their history?
Samantha:We worked under Rodney Mohr and Katherine Mohr. Katherine is Rodney's daughter who began making bows only a few years ago. Anne Mohr and Rodney Mohr both met at the Violin Making School in Chicago and began their family business from there.
Rodney has been an active bow maker for 30 years now and has made about 1,000 bows. He has won 20 awards through international competitions.
After he won his 3rd gold medal with the Violin Society of America, he is no longer eligible to compete and has earned the title of Hors' Concours.
LIVS: What was the objective of the workshop?
Samantha: The objective by the end of the workshop was to have a completed stick. After a long 9 hour drive to Ohio,all the students in the workshop raced to their bench's to get right to work. Unfortunately, one student broke his stick while cambering his bow by the middle of the week!
LIVS: Did you face any particularly difficult challenges during the workshop?
Samantha: Yes and no. Working in the shop, for me, is therapeutic. So, I didn't mind spending all those hours in the shop. While making a bow, certain steps we more challenging than others. But once I accomplished that step I was ready to move on to the next!
LIVS: Do you have a specific moment that was particularly memorable from the workshop?
Samantha: Memorable moment… Sitting around the dinner table with the Mohr family and my classmates. The Mohr family was so welcoming, inviting us to stay in their McClellan-Clark home, cooking home-made meals for us.
LIVS: Do you have any advice or insights for future bow makers and/or luthiers out there?
Samantha: Participate in workshops! Violin making and bow making workshops are geared towards learning and sharing ideas about making, restorations and repairs. I, myself, have attended 4 workshops over the years (University of New Hampshire's Violin Craftsmanship institute -Intermediate and Advanced repairs, Oberlin for Bow Restoration and Rodney Mohrs Bow Making Workshop).