Last year at WorldFest, inspired by Dearbhail Finnegan, Susanna told us of her dream to play the Celtic harp. A few months later she took a big step toward that goal by acquiring the beautiful little harp shown below:
The 38-inch, 29-string “Minstrel harp” from the good folks at Cedar Creek Dulcimers is made of redwood and birch, with sharping levers, ornate side-carving and a Celtic design. It is small enough to tote to a jam, but not quite tall enough to play while seated in a typical chair. At first, therefore, Susanna propped it up with an ugly old plastic crate, but I promised her I would make her a wooden box to support it in style.
In the photo above, the harp is shown with the new wooden harp box. Fortunately for Susanna, I changed my mind about trying to make it myself! Hearing Michael Barfield describe a treasure box made for him at a very reasonable price by master craftsman Rollie Montgomery changed my mind. (See Michael’s account of the treasure box for his Photographs painting project on his blog, Nap Dreams.) So I checked out Rollie’s website, The Little Box Shop, and contacted him to try to explain what we were looking for. This is what he came up with:
The reddish-brown lyptus wood and the light-colored maple of Rollie’s box match the hues of the harp. The box has a very solid feel; there is no risk of it toppling over or twisting out from under the harp.
The door, held fast by a strong magnet, opens smoothly to reveal several compartments: a vertical space for music sheets on the left, an open area above right, and two drawers. The door closes with a whooshing sound that announces an absolutely solid, airtight construction.
The lower drawer holds spare strings and miscellaneous supplies. A mousepad on the top cushions the harp, and can be stowed inside when not in use. The upper drawer holds the tuner. The solidly made drawers slide in and out with utter ease, each fitting its compartment like a hand in a glove.
Every surface of the box reveals the fine quality of craftsmanship. There is something very special about objects carefully constructed from wood. I am reminded that Jesus made more boxes and tables than he gave sermons.
“For a carpenter’s shop was the delight of my boyhood; and after I began to read the history of our Lord with something of that sense of reality with which we read other histories… my feeling about such a workshop grew stronger and stronger, till at last I never could go near enough to see the shavings lying on the floor of one, without a spiritual sensation such as I have in entering an old church…”
George MacDonald, Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood
Life is filled with hidden art. Rollie’s carpentry is no less a work of art than Michael’s painting, the Celtic harp itself, or the music that Susanna will create with it through the decades ahead.
For a few more photos see this Gallery. When you need a well-crafted box, contact Rollie Montgomery, The Little Box Shop. If you want a painting, browse Michael’s Visual Feast blog. If looking for a dulcimer or Celtic harp, check out Cedar Creek Dulcimers.
Rollie, Susanna is thrilled with her new harp box. It is an inseparable companion for the Minstrel harp. Thanks!