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Tonight and tomorrow the Balvenie Rare Craft Roadshow will be exhibiting its artisanal wares (with limited-capactiy Scotch Whisky Master Classes) in our nation's capital at the Carnegie Library. If you're in the Beltway, be sure to check it out. X
As a sculpture student at Baltimore's Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), Long Island-raised guitar maker Rick Kelly worked his way through college by hand-making Appalachian dulcimers from reclaimed wood from the city Parks Department. "I'd been making cigar box guitars for this high school project," says Kelly. "But the Appalachian dulcimers were really the first production instruments I made." Kelly took the guitars to juried craft fairs — learning his craft while making rent money. After a few years of producing guitars out of Maryland barn, Kelly packed up for Manhattan, where set up a small shop building handmade Telecasters and Stratocaster replicas. Though he moved to California for a few years in the early Eighties, Kelly's been building coveted custom Kelly Guitars out of Carmine Street Guitars — from reclaimed swamp ash, Arkansas rock maple, and pine from New York City landmarks like the Chelsea Hotel and Chumley's — that have made fanatics of Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, Lenny K, GE Smith, James Taylor, director Jim Jarmusch (above, with Kelly) and the late Lou Reed, who still had a pine model on order when he passed away last week.