Magazine article Strings

Maker Boyd Poulsen Finds a Balance

Magazine article Strings

Maker Boyd Poulsen Finds a Balance

Article excerpt

For many years I was just tied to the business," admits violin and bow maker Boyd Poulsen. "It's a fascinating business and usually you don't take time [to do other things], which I think is a big mistake." Now in his 60s, Poulsen seems finally to have found the good life. "It's not running my life at this point," he says. "It's wonderful."

What changed? "I bailed from the city," he says simply. "When I had my shop there, I worked 60-hour weeks." Now that Poulsen lives in Arnold, California-"the boonies"-he no longer does repairs, and he sells his instruments and bows to dealers. "I prefer it that way because I never have to answer the phone, or make appointments, or keep them ... I suppose in the long run I make less money, but when I'm in the shop I only do the bench work, and I really enjoy that."

Not that Poulsen is one to sit back and take it easy. "Besides skiing and hiking and all the other things I'm involved in, I teach at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, three weeks in the summet, one in the winter. I also work parttime in Calaveras Big Trees State Park. I'm really interested in environmental and natural history things, and they got involved in a dendrochronology project and needed somebody to prepare the wood and so on."

Classically trained as a bass player, and a former member of the Reno Philharmonic, Poulsen also keeps his hand in as a musician. "I'm mostly playing jazz," he says. "I don't do any classical here-I have too far to travel. I'm in a couple of small groups playing jazz in clubs and restaurants. …

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