Portrait of Ian Clarke

Curriculum Vitae

Ian moved with his wife Margaret to England in August 1974, and was accepted for that year’s intake by the Newark School of Violin-making. His teachers were Maurice Bouette, the first director of the school; Glen Collins, his assistant; and Wilfred Saunders, who at that time was engaged on a part-time basis.

In 1976 Ian, along with Wilf Saunders, and a number of other students from the school entered the violin making competition at the Cremona Trienniale. This proved to be a rewarding exercise as Wilf came home with a silver medal for his viola, and Ian with silver for a violin. Graduation in 1977 saw Ian awarded a Diploma with Distinction, and a joint share with Michael Byrd in the Ralph Oakham Cup, awarded for excellence over the three years of the course. Ian continued to work in England for the next four years, concentrating on making, timber collecting, and research.

In 1979, Margaret and Ian’s first son William was born at Lincoln, and in 1981 they returned to the family property at Biddeston, near Toowoomba, Queensland. These next years were very busy, involving as they did the construction of a dwelling and workshop, extensive planting of trees, and the establishment of the violin business. In 1983 Ian conducted a course in violin making at the McGregor Summer School in Toowoomba, and in the following year ran a series of classes in Brisbane.

In late 1987, early 1988 Ian returned for nearly three months to the UK and Europe, principally to buy and saw more maple for instruments, but also to visit as many makers as possible. A highlight of this trip was a visit with Hein Woldring to Prague to meet the eminent maker Premysl Spidlen, whose inspirational instruments are intimidatingly fine.

In 1996 Ian and John Beames organized a class in advanced restoration techniques at the McGregor school. This was conducted by Christoph Gotting who had previously worked as a restorer with J. & A. Beare for some 15 years after graduating from Mittenwald.

Through the late 80’s and 90’s the business has expanded to include extensive quantities of retail merchandise, and to accommodate the increasing demand for quality repairs.