Tim Duerinck, a contemporary luthier in Belgium, has developed an eco-friendly, plant-based cello made from flax fiber. Claiming to bring new possibilities for environmentally friendly instrument design, the flax fiber design is durable and able to obtain the same acoustic qualities as the endangered woods often used in string instrument production.
As first reported by The Strad, the flax fiber cello will soon be on display at Belgium’s museum of textiles and flax in Kortrijk, and was made with pieces of mirror-twilled fabric layered with natural flax to create the patterns used when producing traditional wooden cellos. As almost every industry continues to re-evaluate its effect on the environment, Duerinck felt he should explore greener alternatives to traditional instrument making.
The news follows Irish violin-maker Padraig O’Dubhlaoidh’s development of the first ever Vegan Society certified violin. At present, the majority of violins and other string instruments contain glues made from animal hooves and hides, while many violin bows are made with horsehair.
“What do we use wood for today? It has to be specific wood from protected species… Do we even still want that?” asked Benjamin Glorieux, a cellist and composer who worked on the flax fiber project with Duerinck. “Flax provides an environmentally friendly alternative”, added the luthier.