Meet the men and women who make and play their own instruments this weekend
A major exhibit of handmade musical instruments featuring the men and women who built them and play them returns to Southwest Portland this weekend.
The annual Northwest Handmade Musical Instruments Exhibit lost its home at Marylhurst College, which shut down recently, and will be held for the first time at the Sylvania campus of Portland Community College.
The show of hand-crafted instruments made its debut in 1975 at the World Forestry Center in Washington Park.
Cyndy Burton is a Portland-
based guitar maker, or luthier which means a maker of stringed instruments. She and her partner and fellow luthier Jeffrey Elliott have been instrumental in staging the exhibit.
"It caught on because we have a critical mass of instrument makers in the Pacific Northwest," she said.
More than 60 instrument makers will be showing their handiwork as well as discussing and demonstrating their craft. Thirty professional musicians from the Pacific Northwest will perform on handmade instruments.
The majority of instrument makers will be luthiers, displaying the guitars, violins, banjos, mandolins and ukuleles they've made. But there will also be makers of flutes, percussion instruments and organs on hand.
Burton says for many of the instrument makers this is more than a hobby. "They love woodworking and the idea pf making something that is useful. I think it's partly a reaction to the way things are going today. We're sort of moving back to making things with our hands," she said.
"These people are very dedicated. Very few actually make a good living making instruments, but some of them do and we'll have some of them at our show," she said.
Her partner in their Southeast Portland studio, Jeffrey Elliott, is one of those who makes a living making guitars. He told Oregon Art Beat in February of this year that he's made 300 guitars "with my name on them." Among the musicians he has made guitars for are one of the most revered classical guitarists Julian Bream, the top jazz acoustic guitar player Earl Klugh and the lead guitarist with the seminal jazz band Oregon, Ralph Towner.
The 44th Annual Northwest Handmade Musical Instrument Exhibit is being held Saturday and Sunday May 4 and 5. It will be held in the Amo De Bernardis College Center Mall on the PCC Sylvania Campus at 12000 SW 49th Ave. General admission is $5. Children under 12 are free. For information on exhibitors and performers see: