What’s a Wallpusher cameo?
It’s an interview or special article on an Creative Colleague of ours who deserves attention.Whether an artist, craftsman, musician or designer– our Creative Colleagues are all people with acommon drive, a similar spark that inspires them to create. Contact us if you or other creatives would like to be presented in a cameo!
Walter Stanul is an incredibly famous guitar maker and inventor of the archtop– a jewel who has lived andworked in the Boston area for decades. The work he has done inventing the Archtop Guitar has innovated the way that acoustic guitars are conceived and made.
We Love Walter as a friend, respect him as a great artist, and an innovative teacher. Matthew first met Walter teaching at the Museum of Fine Arts School in Boston, MA where Walter taught guitar making. When Matthew entered the SMFA Diploma Program in 2000, THE oldest fine arts degree in the country, he introduced himself to Walter and showed him the guitars that he had been making since childhood in New Jersey. Walter was amazed, and hired Matthew to help him teach guitar making.
Walter and Matthew share a similar spirit, their friendship is an intuitive one– they speak the same way, passionate about every subject from their art, to their teaching, to the flow of a shop. Everything is exciting to Walter, who says “I don’t know how much time I’ve got left” but is constantly working to innovate beautiful instruments and share his skills through teaching at renowned universities. His teaching talents are praised in a Harvard Article, where he now teaches, but when he and Matthew taught together, he was also teaching at the MFA and MassArt. Another article details his work with guitars from the MFA where he worked teaching guitar making for several years. Walter and Matthew have worked as colleagues at the MFA, MassArt and Harvard, teaching students how to follow the classical traditions of guitar making, but they also share a spark of innovation, and in their own guitars, show a love of the new as they challenge age old designs to create more playable, more beautiful and terrific sounding instruments.
Yesterday we met Walter and talked about all the ideas we have for our guitars, and he showed us his. He has made all sorts of instruments from renaissance inspired small light guitars to larger classical guitars. Some great photos of his guitars are featured on Harp Guitar, which shows the context and quality of his work.
The slideshow illustrates several tools and parts of the process of making an acoustic guitar, including special cawls (intentionally made blocks that hold the wood in place while it is gluing or being shaped) that had an innovative guitar shape.
Like Wallpusher, Walter was a lot of plans. He has done so much teaching, and guitar making in his life, but he still wants more. We are hoping to continue this cameo with a podcast of his insights about making guitars.
Standing together with Walter, we started to talk about our common love of music, and he talked about how as a young boy he wanted more than anything to play the drums. They didn’t have one for him, but he did find a round cheese box made of thin wood, which he loved the sound of. In his shop, he showed us an acoustic guitar top that is made to resonate and amplify sound. He tapped the wood of the guitar in different spots which were “treble” and “bass” according to the location. Walter! I said, “This is the most beautiful cheese box with strings I’ve ever seen!”