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Meet the people who make your bespoke rosin

From the grain patterns of timber to the quality of varnishes, the Leatherwood Rosin team is passionate about the 'texture' of the string-playing world. They value the relationships between performers and their artisan violin and bow makers; the journey of construction and maintenance, and the high appreciation of stunningly beautiful natural materials being as important as energies spent in the practice room or on stage.

Andrew Baker - Founder & Director, Rosin Maker

Andrew has always been excited by the colours, textures and aromas of the violin-making tradition. Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin evolved out of this passion, offering string players a means to directly inform and shape their rosin experience. Andrew believes the relationship between client and maker is just as relevant for rosin as for instruments and bows. With many years experience as a professional performing violinist, pedagogue, researcher and manager, Andrew wishes to continue contributing to the experiences of string players through a product that enhances their playing and indulges their senses.

A graduate of Sydney Conservatorium of Music (performance) and the Australian National University (string pedagogy), Andrew has received numerous awards and prizes during his school years. He has lived and studied solo performance, chamber music and baroque music period practice in Amsterdam studying with some of Europes finest teachers. He has worked  as Head of Strings and Director in regional conservatoriums, and as concert master and soloist with a number of orchestras in regional Australia. While contributing to the string-playing world through Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin, Andrew founded and leads Colour City Chamber Orchestra. 

Emma Quirk-Baker

Emma Quirk-Baker

Emma co-founded Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin with her husband Andrew. She does not play the violin, but don't let that fool you. Emma has had a varied career working with her hands. From helping on her childhood farm, to ceramics, painting, blacksmithing, jewellery making and metal working, Emma's creative talents and ideas infuse all of of Leatherwood's products design and manufacturing. 

Carl and Eden Plaisted

Eden and Carl Plaisted are a creative force in art, design, sculpture and performance. They grew up running feral on the family farm making sling shots, mud bricks and motorised go-carts, presenting a unique set of skills that have culminated into their craftsmanship. Carl is a graduate of the prestigious Australian Ballet School, and danced for 12 years in the Sydney Dance Company. Eden is a graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts in Musical theatre, and studied a Master of Art (Sculpture) at the University of New South Wales.

Their business, 908.Art.Design is currently represented by the prestigious M Contemporary Galleries in Sydney. Most recently they were a finalist in the 2020 Tom Bass prize for figurative sculpture. They bring to Leatherwood Rosin a detailed eye for form, proportion, and exceptionally high quality of work with their hands, not to mention their great looks and personalities!

Severiano Paoli

Severiano is an endorsed artist, and Product representative for Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin. His hands helped create the Amber Range Rosin for Double Bass. 

Severiano is a much sought after Bass player across Europe, performing on both historic and modern instruments. He is a graduate of Istituto Musicale L. Boccherini (Lucca) and Prins Claus Conservatorium (Groningen, Nl) and has studied with some of Europe's leading bass performers, including M.Gabriele Ragghianti, Margaret Urquhart, Wolfgang Güttler (SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg) and Thierry Barbè (principal double bass of the Opera orchestra, Paris). In 2018 he won the historically informed performance competition during the Viennese bass days in Amsterdam.

Severiano is available for consultation about Leathewood's products, particularly with the Amber Range for Bass.

Why was Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin created?

As much as we rely upon rosin as a vital ingredient in sound and response enhancement, it is hard to decipher exactly how, or in what way, a generic rosin recipe enhances your sound. Some rosin brands offer no description whatsoever on their sound and response characteristics, and for those that do, the messages are often general, generic and all encompassing. More importantly, the experience of a rosin is very subjective. Two players will find their experience with one rosin vastly different because, for example, of differing types of bow, strings, bridge, instrument qualities, and even differences in their technique or playing style.

The main sound and response characteristics rosin can affect are:

  • Attack (the strength of the initial grab on the string)
  • Traction (the amount of grip in sustained bowing)
  • Texture (the feel of the rosin on the string)
  • Clarity (the clarity of articulation in spiccato and sautille for example)

Varying these characteristics in your rosin can affect brightness and projection, the amount of surface noise (the clarity of the traction), the depth / warmth or richness of sound, and the overall effectiveness of advanced techniques such as triple stopping, sautille, spiccato and sostenuto.

If you need a rosin with a stronger initial, attack, a smoother feel, a brighter sound or less surface noise, how do you go about finding one that does specifically that? Which do you buy?

Differences in playing qualities of rosin depend almost entirely upon the species of the tree, environmental and climatic conditions of where it is grown, but more so on the method of extraction from the tree and how the rosin is distilled. Rosin can be extracted in two ways. It can be ‘tapped’ from a cut in the trunk (this is called Gum Rosin), or chemically extracted from tree stump pulp using a chemical-based method (called Wood Rosin). Very generally, gum rosin tends to be more brittle and powdery, and wood rosin more tacky. Rosin can then be distilled to varying degrees resulting in the different colours from clear to dark brown / black.

Raw resin ingredients vary to a such great degree that a rosin maker has a wide choice of ingredients, all of which feel and sound different. As rosin is the interface of bow and string, the stickiness and texture of the rosin will significantly affect the vibration of the string. So when choosing a rosin, the player must consider carefully what sound and response characteristics they wish to enhance, rather than simply looking for something that might just be a welcome change from their current rosin.

For the first time in rosin history, string players can enhance their sound and response to suite their instrument, style and playing contexts.

Your bespoke rosin, as you desire it.