• Ray Vincent

The case of the case. From paper mâché to mushrooms

One of the things I did not think about when I started creating my uniquely designed instrument was that I needed a case that would fit it. The main focus has always been in building a great instrument, but it's funny how may times the first question from a potential customer has been "does it come with a case?"

It's been a journey, I will say. I remember watching a video on a well known luthier and hearing him saying he had a great idea for a new ukulele design that would be sonically better, but chose not to pursue it because finding a case would be difficult. I didn't let that stop me and thanks to my understanding customers I continue to build my Fibonacci shaped instruments and am slowly working out the case thing. I've had customers who have made their own, found some funky used one, had a custom built case or made due with a store bought case that doesn't quite fit.

Another problem with making a case is the time and materials to make one. Trying to keep it at a realistic price and well protected is the hardest part of a custom case.

I think my most recent case is a winner. It's made with recycled cardboard and paper mâché. I love how it follows the shape and is very strong. Plus I am able to make it into a bit of an art piece on it's own.

The Mushroom Case.

This is a crazy story in itself. One of first cases I made was constructed out of styrofoam. I loved the way it came out but realized I didn't want to make it this way every time, so I did some research to see if there was a more ecological alternative to styrofoam. Turns out there is, it's mushrooms. Once dried out, they turn out to be and feel just like styrofoam. The mycelium grows and intertwines around the shape and when you're ready for it to stop, you heat it up and dry it out. Below are pictures of me making it. It was a lot of work and I messed up a couple of times, but I am glad I experienced this amazing procedure. Lots of other things can be made with it. If you are interested, check out Grow Bio

The case now resides in hands of one of my return customer's Emil G. along with his flatback root. Emil G makes amazing soundscape music. I love knowing these artistic creations are now a part of someones else's creative endeavour.

The making of the mushroom case.