After ten years spent sneaking obsessive hours into hornmaking, after more than forty iterations of a still evolving instrument form, after an uncounted number of performances and shows blurring into the past, I have no personal qualms about calling myself a hornmaker. But somebody always has to ask that one question that can seem to lay suspicion upon the validity of my time spent:
‘Did you ever sell one?’
Before I answer, it behooves me to repeat that the purpose of this project, that being the project of the Legion of Flying Monkeys Horn Orchestra, is to have an orchestra of hand-made wood horns (and accompanying instruments) with an interactive aesthetic. Funding such a project has never been easy, but selling the instruments has also never been the point. Naturally, people who’ve known me as a painter selling paintings expect me to have the same kind of patron/artist relationship as a hornmaker. So, I normally hum and haw at this question, pull my collar a bit and say, ‘Well, they’ve always been for sale, of course, but are, understandably, um, prohibitively expensive.’, and then natter on in that vague, self-defensive artspeak for a while before finally admitting that, no, I’ve never sold a single damn horn.
Last week, actually, to be precise. My client wishes to remain under the radar for the time being so as not to announce his or her fiscal superiority. But the commission is begun, and I can no longer be properly called an ‘amateur’ hornmaker. So, yes, it is a shiny new world for yours truly, the realization of a plan begun long ago.
Paradoxically, everything is the same.
Below, a progress report on the articulated, single-piece empresswood bell project. Stay tuned.