The Center for Maine Craft gallery presents an MCA Members Luthier Invitational October 1-16, 2019. This pop-up exhibition is curated by luthier and marquetry artist James Macdonald and is presented in conjunction with Maine Craft Weekend and the 3rd Annual Maine Luthiers Exhibition and Music Showcase. Featuring handmade stringed instruments by Jawad Al-Fatlawi, Benjamin Foss, James Macdonald and Don Roy.
Jawad Al-Fatlawi, a refugee from Baghdad, Iraq, is a composer, solo oud player, oud maker and teacher who has called Maine home since 2016. He graduated from the Higher Institute of Music and completed his studies at the University of Baghdad, receiving his master’s degree in the philosophy of musical sciences. Al-Fatlawi began his musical career in the oud industry in 1984 and since 1989 has made more than 3,000 ouds and other musical instruments. He was a professor of music for many years before leaving Iraq. Al-Fatlawi began his performance career in Maine on World Refugee Day in 2016, having been in the United States just four months. Since then he has played at school, community and family events. He also has worked as an inventor to create unique instruments that blend the musical traditions of the East and the West.
Benjamin Foss is a musician and luthier based in Swanville ME. He grew up playing the fiddle, and built his first instrument (a banjo) at age 11 when he wanted to learn to play but couldn’t easily find one. In the years since he’s focused on repair and restoration of fretted instruments while honing his building skills with the goal of creating custom acoustic guitars and mandolins designed with ergonomics and tone in mind. Benjamin is available to repair and restore fretted instruments, as well as take on custom builds.
James Macdonald has been creating marquetry and inlay work at his studio in Burnham, Maine since 1989. He studied with marquetry master Silas Kopf, and has taught marquetry at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, ME, Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass, CO and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, ME. In 2012, Macdonald received his BA with a concentration in Art from Union Institute in Montpelier, VT. Notably, he has created marquetry designs for Hinckley Yachts and the Gibson Guitar’s Custom Shop. His work in private collections, and notably one of his signature marquetry guitars is in the Allman Brothers Museum at the Big House in Macon GA.
Don Roy is a musician and accomplished crafter of stringed musical instruments. He apprenticed under the noted luthier Jonathan Cooper, and has completed a number of distinctive, full-voiced instruments. His violins, violas, and cellos are prized by musicians across the country. During the past few years, Don has begun sharing his expertise and his violin shop with students interested in learning the craft. Don performs and records using his own violins. He has recorded and released four solo CDs, and is currently working on a fifth. His compositions, as well as a selection of traditional melodies, have been released in his first tune collection, Notes From My Mind.