all photos © copyright of Grace-Notez
Having learned Highland dancing from the age of 5 till 18, and attending an Ingleside monthly, Celtic music was a major influence in my life.
With the exciting arrival of Riverdance & Lord of the Dance I was sponsored to take dance classes by a loving aunt. So at the age of 46 I began four years of true Irish dancing with Adrian Murphy. On stage full performances, a life changing experience that compounded my heritage & love of all things celtic.
Issues with my right knee at the age of 50 saw me hang up my soft & hard shoes, and I began attending a local weekly Ceilidh where I met Barb & Wes Bycroft, the orignal members of 'Twisty Willow', a well known & respected Celtic band.
At the age of 55 my desire to play Celtic music on the fiddle began!
I approached Barb about lessons & so began.
I rented a Fiddle as I had no previous experience of playing music & was unsure if I would master it. This Fiddle had a nice tone and survived the torture of a beginner, as did my family.
However, about 18 months later Phillip Whitehead,"Luthier" tapped me on the shoulder one evening at a Session & passed me a Fiddle & said, "have a play!"
Well it was love at first touch. An older Fiddle with a beautiful tone and grace, so she became 'Grace'.
My first trip to the UK in July 2010 was the beginning Of Grace-Notez.
A week of Summer School in the Castle Hatton, organised by Anne-Marie Forsyth of the 'Auckland Scottish Fiddle Club', was the grounds for the first photos taken of Grace, my Fiddle. On my return home the photos received considerable interest & I was encouraged to continue to take photos.
My cousin-in-law, Brom Breevelt, printer & owner of 'Word's Incorporated' tested a few as greeting cards & we were delighted with the results.
I continued taking photos of Grace (& friends) & producing cards. There were several queries about a calendar. So the 2011 Fiddle calendar was produced. The only way to have the calendar ready was for the photos to be hand-glued! That was quite a mission but worthwhile.
I use these as gifts for visiting Fiddlers or Violinists to New Zealand as there are very few resources out there for Fiddlers & Violinists. These have been received with immense delight!
I now have shots enlarged as Posters, Canvas prints, mugs, keyrings, fridge magnets, a Fiddle clock, Coasters etc - proving quite exciting!
Many of my photos have a Celtic influence due to my heritage & love of Celtic music & dance!
Once the website was up I began to connect and post sessions, workshops, visiting Celtic musicians for New Zealanders as there seemed to be no communication between the various groups. This soon extended to Australia and then the UK as many Kiwis travelled across the 'ditch' to 'Ozz' and during our winter to the UK's Festival season. Soon that had to include Canada and the USA.
From there the website continues to extend information.
Covid saw a complete disruption to events, Grace-Notez Gallery and the website.
The Grace-Notez FaceBook page is an extention of the site with Video clips and daily information.
My sincere appreciation to Barb Bycroft for her inspirational teaching and support.
A special thank you to Philip Whitehead at the Stringed Workshop for allowing us to take photos in his workshop.
To Candice Osborne trouble shooter extraordinaire.