In September of 2010, Bristolian Nick Hand visited Martin Doyle at his workshop in Clare. After recording a conversation with Martin and taking a raft of photographs in Martin’s workshop, Nick created a ‘soundslide’ that has been included on his Slowcoast website – one of dozens of inspirational soundslides that he has created during his cycle tours around the coastal regions of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
Conversations on the Coast – by Nick Hand
Nick has just released Conversations on the Coast – a beautifully presented hardcover publication offering a selection of twenty stories and photography from the Slowcoast project.
Conversations on the Coast brings together artists and craftspeople from around the British Isles who talk about their work, their life and their passion.
“What I love most about this book is the humility of actually quite ordinary artisans chosen by chance as they came into focus on one man’s remarkable journey around the coast. What we learn is that when you take the time to look, even the apparently straight forward lives of a bicycle repairer, hat maker or basket weaver are driven by passion and a deep seated love for their work. It is inspirational.” – Robin Wood, Chair of The Heritage Crafts Association.
Nick Hand’s visit with Martin Doyle has been included in the book and Martin was delighted to receive a copy by post this week.
Nick Hand cycled his way through some beautiful landscapes and interviewed some very interesting souls.
Martin Doyle receives the 2011 RDS Crafts Competition Award (Musical Instruments category).
Martin Doyle has just received the honour of being awarded first prize in the ‘Musical Instruments’ category of the 2011 RDS National Crafts Competition. The award was for a nine key flute made of cocus wood that Martin finished in April.
Martin drove from County Clare to Dublin with his apprentice Gwenn Frin on Wednesday to accept the award and they were joined at the RDS ceremony by Martin’s long-time friend and Aikido teacher Sean MacRuairi (John Rogers).
Martin Doyle has previously entered his flutes in two craft competitions winning major awards on both occasions. He was awarded the Crafts Council of Ireland Medal in 1985 (with an eight key flute made from African Blackwood) and the prestigious RDS California Gold Medal (overall winner) in 1993 (also with an eight key flute made from African Blackwood). Delighted by the encouragement of winning this years award, Martin had this to say:
A number of photographs have just been added to Martin Doyle’s Photostream on Flickr. They were taken by Bob Denton who has been Martin’s friend since the 1970s.
Bob Denton is a photographer and musician who plays guitar, mandolin, claw hammer banjo and tin whistle. Originally from South Africa, Bob is credited with starting the Barleycorn Music Club on Woodbridge Island, Cape Town, in 1975. He also compèred and performed at many South African Folk Festivals.
In the realm of photography, Bob worked for Deegan Photo on Leeson Street in Dublin during the early 1970s and took the photo of the Book of Kells which was used on the one and five punt notes in Ireland. He also took many of the photographs for the Doors of Dublin poster originally produced by Borde Failte.
Bob first met Martin Doyle when he moved to Bray in County Wicklow in the early 1970s. Martin, a native of Bray, had just begun to play the banjo and he and Bob would play together regularly.
Bob Denton with his trusty banjo and Doolin t-shirt! (Photo credit: Bob’s Facebook page.)
A leisurely bicycle tour around the coasts of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland – what better way to see the sights, get a feel for the land and meet the locals! Many have done it but Bristolian Nick Hand has taken the process a couple of steps further. He is interviewing and photographing inspiring people that he meets during his travels and creating soundslides which he posts on his aptly named website, Slowcoast.
In his own words Nick is “…talking to the artisans that I meet, people who have a passion and have developed and honed a skill.” The result is a very inspiring library of soundslides that cover a wide range of people, lifestyles and landscapes. During his travels Nick is also raising money for the Parkinson’s Disease Society through sponsorship.
Art in Action is a three-day arts and crafts festival held every June Bank Holiday Weekend. Top artists and craftspeople from many different disciplines are invited to set up studios, stalls and workshops to demonstrate their work and skills live. Over a hundred craft, fine, liberal and performing artists demonstrate and sell their art to the public. An extensive range of children and adult art classes are also available, all set in the lovely house and grounds of Townley Hall near Drogheda in County Louth, Ireland. Art in Action is affiliated to the John Scottus School.
Art in Action is organised and staffed by the School of Philosophy, an educational charity in Dublin (CHY 5791). Everyone who contributes to the organisation and staffing of the event does so entirely on a voluntary basis and without payment of any kind. This is at the core of the ethos of Art in Action and contributes to its unique atmosphere – about which both visitors and artists frequently comment.
A music session in full swing at Martin Doyle’s stand during Art in Action 2010.
A new page presenting information regarding the wooden Baroque flutes made by Martin Doyle has recently been added to his website.
Martin Doyle completed his first set of Baroque flutes early in 2000. Originally working with African Blackwood, he modelled his Baroque flute design on an eighteenth century Rottenburgh Baroque flute. Martin has also made Baroque flutes from Boxwood, three of which feature below.
Three Martin Doyle Baroque flutes made from Boxwood.
Tomás MacUileagóid, a flute player, fiddler and harp maker from Dublin, Ireland, has kindly sent Martin Doyle a testimonial which has been added to Martin’s website. Tomás recently purchased a keyed flute from Martin Doyle.
I have thought a lot about writing to you since I got my keyed flute from you. I wanted to really feel my way into it and explore what it has to offer. I am astounded by the range of colour available, just waiting for me to exploit it. The tones available far exceed what I could get on the flute I got off you 10 years ago. I wanted the keys because I have a particular interest in the music of east Galway, Paddy Kelly and Paddy Fahey in particular, and you can’t really manage that without the F natural. Obviously since I have a keyed flute I notice other flutes much more, and I am continuously impressed by your standard of craftsmanship, and I understand how difficult it is to maintain such a high standard. Well done!! I don’t know what motivates you as an instrument maker, but I enjoy being able to create something that is unique with its own voice, that will hopefully live long after me and in some small way contribute to making the world a better place. I think you have already achieved this. Thank you.
Very thoughtful and insightful words from a fellow instrument maker — thank you for your kind and encouraging comments Tomás.
Testimonials from flute players all over the world can be viewed here: Testimonials »