For many years, we have closely followed and admired the work of French luthier Bastien Burlot who has built guitars for the likes of Roland Dyens and Thomas Viloteau. However, it is with his most recent project - which he is calling "Alkemia" that we are really enthusiastic. Bastien is building a series of guitars with rosettes inspired by the great cathedrals of France and this is our second from him - this one inspired by the Cathédrale Nôtre Dame in Strasbourg (the first in this series was from Chartres).
Burlot's personal insights into the meaning of this model are best told in his words: "This cathedral has only one rose window, which was created by Erwin De Steinbach. There are no biblical scenes represented in it, just a very geometric pattern of corn ears. This is symbolic since corn begins in the darkness (underground), and then it grows up out of the ground to discover the light and give its magic. The central pentagram is quite discreet: only those who seek to see it will find it. It indicates that a "Unity" is reconstituted: the inner unity of man, but also that of his environment in which he is included. When the rose window was built, Master Erwin’s drawings and designs were entrusted not to a master glassmaker, but to a master goldsmith, whose studio was located at the end of a courtyard in the Rue des Orfèvres, a stone’s throw from the Cathedral. It is often mentioned that a mixture of diamond dust and precious stones were incorporated by the goldsmith into the preparation of the glass. Hence, we have an alchemical process… It is a real jewel that this rose window was erected above the central portal like a luminous flower, or a precious stone. Its elegance and finesse make it one of the most beautiful rose windows of the medieval west… It is the true sun of the Cathedral and the canopies are the stars."
For Bastien, these great cathedrals act as "bridges between the profane, material world and a more sacred one." It is this ideal that he is bringing into the construction of each one of the "Alkemia" guitars - indeed each guitar is intended to be a portal where the player can enter into the sublime and mysterious world of music. Fit and finish are extremely clean for this maker and the sonic and expressive qualities of the guitar are as impressive as its design. We are pleased to at last be offering such an interesting and elegant instrument from this creative and well-respected luthier and look forward to his next installment in the series!