Archie Smith, Woodworker
Archie Smith creates sculptural and functional instruments that combine extraordinary craftmanship with contemporary design out of his studio in Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina.
Using a combination of woods, Archie creates a modern rendering that draws from ancient roots. He personally handcrafts each one-of-a-kind instrument to be a unique melding of art and music.
In the tradition and spirit of the fine Old World Craftsmen, I work alone. I plan and design, “scout out” sources (from over the world) and acquire the varied and specific materials that I want. I then cut, saw, resaw, bookmatch, glue, sign, date, number, drill, clamp, trim, carve, cut out and prepare various materials for inlay. I do the inlay work itself, shape, sand, spray, buff, press in anchors, screw in tuners, string, tune and play my instruments. (I also sweep up the sawdust.)
I make three types of instruments: the mountain or lap dulcimer; the bowed psaltery; the plucked psaltery. All three are wooden string instruments and all three have their own type of “voice.” In the creation of my instruments I expend much “tender love and care,” as well as much “blood, sweat, toil and tears.”
People often ask me how long it takes to make one of my instruments. In all honesty, I have to answer that I really don’t know. I do not (I can not) keep account of how long it takes and I really do not want to know because it is a labor of love. It simply takes as long as it takes.