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The Balvenie Edition


Sent on behalf of Dario Franchitti


"Hi Roddy, 

Throughout my career in motor racing, I’ve always held great admiration for the craftspeople responsible for building—by hand—the incredible cars I’ve had the great fortune to drive. Craftsmanship (in all its forms) is a huge passion of mine and when I was asked to curate the 2014 Rare Craft Collection by my friends at The Balvenie, I couldn’t wait to get started.

During the selection process for this year’s Collection, I was impressed by your work and would love to include one of your pieces as a part of the twenty that will be showcased across America between August and December this year. Now in its second year, the Rare Craft Collection is a first-of-its-kind, gallery-style exhibition featuring original works from some of America’s finest craftspeople and in my opinion; you are among this esteemed group. "

Click on images to enlarge.

I was flattered and honored to receive this invite to participate in this year's Balvenie Rare Craft Collection.

After some conversations with the  organizers of the collection I decided to create a "One off"  bagpipe specifically in honor of "The Balvenie" and their dedication to fine craftsmanship.

Balvenie didn't give me many specifics other than using some of their oak cask staves and brass metalwork. Brass is quite appropriate since there's so much brass and copper around a distillery, not to mention the gold color of the Balvenie itself!

The most obvious way to use the light colored Oak would be to make projecting mounts to contrast with the blackwood of the pipe. In this case I felt something much more distinctive was called for!

 I've based the pipes on my Antique Edition. So, the "barrel" shapes on the drones use layers of the oak and African Blackwood to simulate whiskey barrels complete with brass rivets.

The barrel theme is continued through all the drone sections and the convex profile of the stocks.

 The engraving is the Balvenie crest and Barley blowing on a rare, warm summer Scottish morning!

I wanted to create a 19th century feel to the bagpipe, perhaps the era when the most distinctive and beautiful bagpipes were being made. So, I put a little more effort into making the projecting mounts and drone caps more decorative than usual, with complex curves and delicate beads and turned details.

Hopefully some will agree, a musical instrument can be a work of Art also!


Click on images to enlarge.

 The 2014 Collection will tour the following cities:


Carmel/Pebble Beach – August 13th – 17th

Los Angeles – August 26th – 27th

Seattle – September 9th – 10th

Austin – September 16th – 17th

Chicago – September 30th – October 1st

Boston – October 7th – 8th

Washington D.C. – October 21st – 22nd

New York City – November 17th – 22nd

Aspen – December 5th – 6th




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