The first seminar offered by EGB was a big success. 10 guitar builders (and EGB members) from 8 countries gathered in Vienna in May 2016 to learn about Inlay and Engraving from Canadian master luthier William 'Grit' Laskin. In an intense 5-day seminar they learned new skills and practiced the craft, immortalizing 'Megan' in wonderful and varied Inlays.
Obviously, community relations have to also be taken care of, and so everyone gathered for a community dinner one night. The wonderful Lillebjorn Nilsen, who is a great fan of Grit's work, and his wife also joined us for an evening of food & music.
Here is what some of them had to say about it:
"As an artist and a craftsman there are few moments where while on the journey, one walks a mile of it with a true master.
There are many obvious benefits to spending a week with the greatest inlay and engraving artist of our time.
I learned what I needed to be able to include this artistry in my own personal quest to achieve my ideal artistic reality.
I had results that left me with that wonderful feeling that anything is possible.
The unexpected benefit which I feel is tantamount to the practical benefit of this master class, was a soul inspiring deep fellowship and humility of the students and teacher alike. The family oriented nature and immense hospitality of our hosts, Michael and Tania Spalt.
At the top of my list is the attendance of an 'All-star' cast that treated me as a friend and a peer though I was the least experienced and newest to the craft."
Aron Bach, Finland
"The EGB workshop with William "Grit" Laskin was one of the most complete, and informative, workshops that I have been to within the lutherie community. He taught the material utilizing over 40 years of experience as a self taught inlay artist which made it easier for people of all experience levels to relate to. I learned more than I thought possible in a very short period of time, and walked away with a better understanding of the inlay process, and how to incorporate it into my future work."
Jason Kostal, United States
"It was thanks to Grit, Tania and Michael that this workshop came together and what a workshop it was!!!!
Arriving at the workshop of Michael's on Monday I was greeted with a smiling Tania, Michael, Grit and Jason, I couldn't feel more welcome.
From day one to thinking he wants us to do that!!! to wow didn't think I had it in me.
The week was hands on with demos and slide shows of all aspects of Grits work who wasn't holding back any of his numerous years of information that he has accumulated from his ideas to the little tricks that are picked up along the way.
Grit has an amazing way of putting his knowledge across so everyone can understand and then be surprised at what they can do.
The week I spent with other makers all with the same mind set was invaluable and very enjoyable.
Its only thanks to Tania and Michael that this happened and lets hope there will be more of the same."
Mike Hobbs, United Kingdom
"The inlay and engraving course with Grit was one of the most inspiring events I have ever participated in. Not only did we get a chance to learn some of the most demanding inlay and engraving work from one of the greatest inlay artists around. He also shared with us his thoughts on inlay as a piece of art, the process of research and planning that goes in to his work was truly awe inspiring!
Fantastic work by the EGB for making this seminar a reality!"
Magnus Ramel, Sweden
"The Grit Laskin workshop about inlay and engraving technique was simply amazing. From hour one we were soaked into Grit’s universe, and he literally let us learn through his lenses. Especially the way of transforming the almost ancient technique of inlay and engraving into temporary „pop art“ styles or whatever modern way of visualization motivated me to take part.
Step by step everybody of the group created an impressive result nobody thought of to get even close too before. Not to forget the enormous humor of Grit, which enriched the experience along with Michael and Tania Spalt’s set up and everybody else's help and company (Judith, Emma, Elias, Eric, Agnes..) as hosts of the workshop in beautiful Vienna.
For me, it was a very insightful, motivating, and life-changing experience, and the best way to improve my skills. The overall atmosphere felt like a family, and the intensity of improving the craft in such a set up is without comparison.“
Frank Deimel / EGB Vice Treasurer, Germany
"I have no words to even begin to describe the impact and magnitude of this unique opportunity to learn pearl inlay & engraving from William-Grit Laskin. An eye-opening experience that I will never forget. Thank you so much Grit for letting us peek into your wonderful world and learn from you. Thank you also to Tania, Judith & and Emma for taking such loving care of our class! And what a fantastic class it was - Michael, Jason, Nik, Frank, Magnus, Mike, Aron, Pierrick & Giulio - epic!
As one of the founding members of EGB I would add, that I am so proud of what a wonderful entity our association has already become within just a few years time. It is a privilege and honor to be part of this wonderful community. Thank you all my EGB brothers & sisters!"
Juha Ruokangas / EGB Vice President, Finland
And here from Grit himself:
"My 5-day Inlay and Engraving Seminar organized by the EGB took place in Michael Spalt’s large Vienna workshop. Nine different countries were represented by the ten ‘student’ luthiers and myself. Thankfully English was understood by everyone!
The 10-hour days were a mixture of intense, focused work interspersed with great food (supplied by the EGB!) and great companionship. It was a joy to be in Vienna, to be brilliantly hosted by Tania and Michael, and to be able to hang out for the better part of week with a group of down-to-earth but very talented luthiers. We laughed, told stories, shared work experiences. But above all, the class did brilliant work on the difficult and very-purposefully challenging inlay & engraving project I brought to them. The degree of skill they showed after only some days of guidance truly impressed me, was far beyond my expectations.
It was a magical time."