BJS Instruments is one person — me, Ben. I love music but I was originally a visual artist. I play the whistle, Irish flute and flute; I love the simplicity and organic feel of the classic six-hole folk instruments.
I also love the way you can shape and structure them in so many ways — they’re a perfect platform for design and decoration.
I began using instruments as a medium for visual art — engraving, painting, laminating and planishing to make new forms whose decoration interacted with their sound.
These days I have a small workshop for making and modifying instruments. Let’s take a quick tour of it. You don’t need that much in the way of tools… it’s all in the wrist, you see…
At the right you’ll see the grinder/polisher.
At the rear right you’ll see the pillar drill.
In the middle you’ll see the Dremel. Have to have a Dremel.
At rear left you’ll see a strange canister of bubbling red fluid. This is Brother Benjamin’s Invigorating Tonic, something else that I make. I plan on selling it by the bottle one day if I can work out whether it’s legal.
In the foreground you’ll see a cheap, horrible engineering vice. I should have paid the extra 20 pounds to get a nice one. Ah well, we live and learn.
In front of the drill you’ll see two whistles-to-be — these went on to become Castor and Pollux, two matching low whistles used by the Ezonoko Ainu Folk Band.
Way way at the back, you’ll see a small school desk from about 1803, with a concert flute on it. Did I make the flute myself? I confess, I did not; I use it for helping tune other flutes.
Not shown: lathe, biscuits, small daughters, hedgehog. The hedgehog lives under the workshop (the daughters live in the house, obviously — otherwise they’d get cold).
I hope you enjoyed this tour!