The Violin Maker

Today SkillsOne visits the workshop of violin-maker John Johnston. John inherited a love for the violin from his father John W. Johnston, but his early interest in the visual arts, oil painting and craft led him from playing the instrument to taking up violin construction and its rich and fascinating history.

Initially self taught (he read a few books and made a couple of violins out of Australian timber), John decided to study violin making in Europe between 1977 and 1980. With assistance from the Australia Council, John went on to excel with a Diploma of Violin Making and Restoration from the internationally renowned Newark School of Violin Making in England. After completion John worked in restoration and sold his instruments to orchestras in England and Europe. He returned to Australia in 1982 and set up his workshop on the Balmain Peninsula, Sydney, where he has worked since.

Johnston violins, violas, and cellos, of which there are to date well over two hundred, are owned and played by leading string players in Australia and overseas.

VJ Bradley Conomy