About Erin Shrader

Photo of Erin Shrader

I began my training as a bow maker in 1999 with Charles Espey in Port Townsend, Washington. For me, it was also a trip home to my native Puget Sound. In addition to French bow-making techniques and exacting tool skills, Espey has a special gift for imparting style and teaching his students to really see.

Soon after, I received a thorough grounding in repairs from Mr. Espey’s first teacher, Robert Shallock, when we worked at David Stone Violins in Seattle. Shallock is a fine bow maker who has spent most of his career working in France. I’ve also spent time learning repairs from the great Rodney Mohr at his shop in Ashland, Ohio. Paul Siefried has been generous with his knowledge and advice throughout my career

I have done hundreds of rehairs, for shops in Seattle, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Philadelphia where I worked for Antiques Road Show appraiser Frederick Oster. There, my clients were mostly Philadelphia Orchestra members, faculty and students at the Curtis Institute and Temple University, visiting soloists, and other professionals. I also wrote bow condition reports for Tarisio, the New York violin auction house.

In the Bay Area I have done work as an independent for Joan Balter, Ifshin Violins, and Rolland Feller Violins. In order to keep current on the latest developments, I attend Violin Society of America conferences, the VSA-Oberlin Bow Makers’ workshop each summer, and I have served on the board of the VSA.

From 2004 to 2010 I was the Lutherie Editor for Strings magazine. For years I traveled the country meeting almost everyone in the trade, from the tiny handful of dealers who handle the most expensive Cremonese fiddles, to the engineer with a passion for making affordable, comfortable shoulder rests. I wrote dozens of articles on instruments, makers, museums, markets, accessories, and the incredibly colorful people who inhabit our world. So you can ask me almost any question. If I don’t know the answer I know who will!

A lifetime of music

As a musician, I have always played the fiddle, especially Irish music, and often for dancers. I have toured, taught at music camps, made recordings with several groups, and stayed up for more sunrises than ought to be allowed. In college at the University of Washington I took lessons from Irish sean nos (old style)  singer Joe Heaney, the greatest singer of his generation. Joe’s teaching has been the single artistic greatest influence in my life. I received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and was a US Irish Fiddle Champion in 1998. An interest in Medieval music led me to the Early Music Institute at Indiana University. After graduation I reverted to the fiddle world. I have played regularly for dancers for 30 years. I have taught for many summers at Lark Camp, a world music camp in Mendocino. You can find out more about Lark Camp here. You can hear my Irish trio, Three Mile Stone, here.