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Luthier Kristin Siegfried Ballenger Discusses the "Celebrating Women Luthier Exhibit"

The New York exhibit will take place between June 3 and 9 at Reuning & Sons Violins' New York showroom


The second Celebrating Women Luthiers International Exhibit is currently underway. The exhibition recently traveled to Potter Violins in Washington, D.C . between May 3 and 11.

It will be soon hosted by Reuning & Son Violins in New York from June 3 to June 9, and then at Sapp Violins in Batavia, Illinois from July 13 to 19.

The event will celebrate the contributions that women make to the world of lutherie, highlighting the often overlooked craft of female luthiers from all over the world.

In New York, the event will include viewings, panel discussions, concerts, and a brunch with the makers.

We had a chance to catch up with luthier Kristin Siegfried Ballenger to learn more about the event.


Tell us about the Celebrating Women Luthiers International Exhibit 2024

The 2024 Celebrating Women Luthiers is exactly as the name states, it is a celebration of talented female makers from around the world. This year the exhibit is a collaboration between Potter Violins, Reuning & Son Violins, and Sapp Violins. The partnership between the shops is reflective of the continuing collaboration in the community of women luthiers.


When was the exhibit created and what is its main mission?

The exhibit was created by Huthmaker Violins in 2022, to highlight the growing number of independent female makers. Huthmakers were then joined by Brobst Violins, and Vermont Violins to continue the exhibit. While women have long been in the field in some form or another, the true rise of independent female makers has really only happened in the past 50 years. The exhibit aims to showcase the often-overlooked work of female makers, celebrate their artisanship, and inspire the next generations of women in the industry.


What is the percentage of women luthiers in the industry?

After doing a bit of research I have no idea of an exact number, and I am genuinely curious about finding out. At least in the bowed string instruments, I would estimate between 25-40% Stay tuned for an upcoming survey!


What is your advice for a young woman that is aspiring to be a luthier?

No journey is exactly the same as another, there will be ups and downs, and everything in between. Continue learning and be curious, the more questions you ask the more experiences you have will continually push you and your work forward. Lastly, be a participant in the community, the luthiery community can be a great resource of information and support, and you always get out what you put in.


Tell us about your journey. What drew you into this world?

My path started as a musician who loves to build things and work with my hands, whether it was sculpture, sewing, or working in a dental lab; I have always been a maker of things. I first became aware of the field of luthiery while visiting my local violin shop, where Greg Sapp was always patient and kind to show me what he was working on (and still is today). It was a wonderful combination of my two favorite things: building and music. A love of music took me most of the way through college, and I started to figure out a way to enter the violin making world, which was through the Chicago School of Violin Making. I started with plenty of hand skills, but no woodworking experience, it was a very steep learning curve. Years of practice, frustration, and mistakes have led me to a career that is challenging and rewarding everyday.


What do you love about it?

I truly love that it is never boring! The more I do with different projects and instruments, or the more people I interact with in the field always leads to more questions and curiosity. While I may never find all of the answers, asking questions and working with colleagues builds community and enriches us all.


You are also the Vice-President of the Violin Society of America and have served on committees for the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers. What are you hoping to achieve for the future of the string instrument-making industry?

Being an active participant on boards and committees gives me a wide lens perspective on the community. There is still a need for more educational avenues for people in the field as well as people just entering the field. Like many skilled trades, if they are not taught, they will die out. My hope is to foster a community that values education, equity, and community.


What can people expect to see at the exhibition?

People can expect to see a wide variety of styles and making from around the world. They will also be able to meet some of the makers representing their work.
At the Reuning & Son NYC portion of the exhibition, there will be a chance to meet the makers, a concert by members of A Far Cry on exhibit instruments, and a panel discussion with myself, Julie Reed-Yeboah, MJ Kwan, Robyn Sullivan, and Korinthia Klein.


Click here to learn more about the exhibition.


upcoming events

july 2024

16julAll Day27Johann Sebastian Bach International Cello & Baroque Cello Competition(All Day) Thomaskirche Leipzig, Thomaskirchhof, Thomaskirchhof 18, 04109 Leipzig, GermanyEvent Type :competitions Event TagsBaroque Cello Competition,Cello Competition,Johann Sebastian Bach International Cello CompetitionFOLLOW


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