60 Second Interview: Instrument maker

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The head of a stringed instrument

Edward Klose talks about how a love of music and the sudden realisation that he could build the instruments he was playing inspired him to study the craft of instrument making. If this strikes a chord with you, read on to find out how to make your way into the trade – something Edward wishes he'd known from the start.

Photo of Edward KloseName: Edward Klose

College: West Dean College

Industry: Musical-instrument making

Role at the college? Student

Education

University: Camberwell College of Arts

After studying at Camberwell, Edward completed a foundation degree in historic craft practices. Today, he is doing a professional development diploma which means he will be fully qualified to make historic instruments when he graduates this summer.

1. What was your very first job?

As a teenager in the catering industry. Weekend job.

2. What did you want to do when you were at school?

I had a pretty good idea from a young age that I would end up in an occupation doing something with my hands. Art was the obvious option at school.

3. How did you find out about the industry?

As a guitar player I was always playing something somebody else made. I knew people in the industry and one day thought, I can make these things.

4. How did you get there?

After finishing a degree in fine art I was looking for a practical application of my creative skills. Instrument-making weaves creativity into an age-old tradition of woodworking.

5. What is a typical day like?

A typical day involves being in the workshop working on whatever part of the instrument needs work. Clients come in from time to time to try out instruments that have been made at the college and this is a good chance to talk about modern expectation and trends that are happening in the playing world.

6. What’s the best thing about your job?

Researching and developing methods of making based on the study of 17th-century instruments is a fascinating part of instrument making.

7. What is the most challenging thing about your job?

I've not worked in the industry long enough for me to know. Starting up a business from nothing is bound to be difficult to start with, I'll be looking for people to share a workshop with to cut expenses and encourage production.

8. What advice do you have for people who want to do what you do?

Work for a week or more with somebody in the profession. Most people are happy to help and it will give you a good idea if it’s the sort of thing you would like to make a career of.

9. What things do you wish you’d known before starting your career?

Perhaps knowing about places to study this kind of unique craft before going to university might have helped as I would be financially better off now!

10. Where would you like to be in 5 years?

Working in a shared workshop with a productive team of people making instruments for clients.

If you're good with your hands and making things sounds like the ideal job for you, check out our art and design career zone to learn about different roles in the industry and how you can get there.

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