Handmade folk guitar creator hosts exhibit at Rockport library

Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 4:26 PM EST
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ROCKPORT, Maine (WABI) - The Rockport Public Library is hosting an interactive showcase Saturday featuring eclectic instruments for the public to peruse and even play with!

Using materials like metal tins and cigar boxes, Jon Friese making intricate guitars and amplifiers - even combined “amplitars!”

Friese says the project stemmed from quarantine and retirement boredom, “I was getting pretty bored during the pandemic, and I thought, ‘You know, I had a built a guitar once before with my grandfather back when I was in 6th grade.’ And I was just getting bored and then you know, ‘I’d like to try that again.’”

“Well, I go to your basic home improvement store and i buy a couple of pieces of wood. i start gluing together and figuring out the distances and so forth as I’m putting them together. But first of all, I have to go out and find a nice looking box, sort of sparks my imagination and we go from there,” he describes as his process of building the guitars.

Friese’s exhibit is part of a larger artist spotlight the library hosts every month.

“It’s usually a painter or a sculptor, and I thought, ‘Hey, let’s do something a little different.’ Because it’s sort of what we’re known for here at the Rockport Library. So I asked my father,” explains Rockport Public Library Assistant Director Julia Pierce. “Every time I went over there, he was tinkering away in his little workshop at the house, just gradually accumulating more and more of these beautiful guitars and he started selling them on Etsy. I was like, ‘These are works of art! They need to be seen as works of art as well.’ So I figured let’s put them up on our art wall at the library.”

Friese says so far, he has built about 115 guitars and 130 amplifiers.

“I’ve always been into music. Worked in music stores in Miami for 23 years, selling musical instruments, recording studio equipment. I’ve always enjoyed putting my hands on guitars and things like that. Can I touch it? Can I make a sound that makes sense? It was just a natural progression,” he says of where his hobby initially stemmed from.

“I thought that this was a really special exhibit. It’s something that is tactile. People can either just keep it up on their wall or they can take it down and play with it. We really just felt that this exhibit in particular would have a little something for everybody, a little appeal for everyone,” comments Pierce. “Art, music, books, theater, film, all of it, they all kind of come together at a library.”

The event is scheduled from 1 to 3 p.m. at the library and is open to all!

Friese will also be there to meet with people.

Friese’s guitars will be available for viewing at the library until the 29th.

For more information on the event and more at the library, visit their website.

For more information on Friese’s work, visit JonBoy’s Etsy page.