Soundhole Rosette


One of the things that I like about Jerry Read Smith’s dulcimers are their aesthetics, particularly the corner scrolls and rosettes. Normally, his rosettes feature an outer ring of S’s and tiny hearts and an inner circle with more S’s.

This one has Jerry’s standard outer ring in ebony, but inside is a design I drew for my first dulcimer, cut from curly maple surrounded by a narrow ring of paduak. It’s a copy of the two that are in my dulcimer, except those two have an inner design cut from bubinga to match the corner scrolls.

When I drew the inner design, I chose spiral motifs because I’d used them in other artwork and because I wasn’t happy with the more realistic designs I’d been sketching. It doesn’t have any exact meaning, but you can still see ideas in it. I especially like the double three-way symmetry, suggesting such images as a dance of three couples, a Star of David, or the Trinity. To me, the whole design has a feeling of movement within boundaries, freedom and energy within structure, a kind of sweetly ordered wildness.