Birth of ASIA

by Michael Dresdner

The field of instrument making and repair has long been in need of some sort of professional organization to help its proponents progress, as well as maintain the respect appropriate to the field. As you know, a group of luthiers took advantage of "Symposium 88," to propose the formation of just such an organization.

On the final evening of the conference, they released a statement, reprinted here in its entirety for those of you who did not receive a copy at that time.

"We, an ad hoc steering committee, propose the incorporation of an institute whose overall purpose is to be a resource and promotion entity for the stringed instrument industry-Its short and long term goals may include

  • Access to a comprehensive database of resources and supplies
  • Educational structures: primary, advanced, business, & legal
  • Assistance in marketing and promotion
  • Health and property insurance packages at group rates
  • A job referral service
  • A directory of certified repair technicians
  • An advertiser's marketplace
  • The publication of a professional journal

These goals will serve to engender a sense of community and mutual assistance while they reinforce an image of professionalism within the industry. We believe the first steps toward achieving these goals to be

  • the formation of a board of advisors,
  • the establishment of a newsletter to allow active participation in the institute's formation process,
  • initiation of a mailing list,
  • appointment of a temporary coordinator, and
  • the drafting of a set of bylaws.

To that end, we are now soliciting the names, addresses, and phone numbers of interested parties, and requesting a donation of $10 to help defray printing and mailing expenses.

Since then, we have acquired a name (Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans), a bank account (see Financial statement), and a modest mailing list.

These were our goals. Now is the time for you to air your goals, desires and intentions.

The main objective of this mailing is to generate feedback from you; the individuals who demonstrated their concern for the instrument industry by attending Symposium 88 and offering their help in the form of money and accessabi1ity. On the last pages of this newsletter, you will find a questionnaire concerning your views on what this organization should be and whom it should serve. It is anonymous to give you the freedom to answer without repercussion and so that you can offer some of the rather personal information requested without your privacy being compromised. The questions are designed to give a demographic profile of the small segment of luthiers receiving this mailing, as well as some insight into your biases with respect to cost, services, membership qualifications, etc. Should you desire to add anything that is not covered in the questionnaire, please forward it as soon as possible. As with the questionnaire, any comments or opinions will be welcomed unsigned.

Please take the time to answer this questionnaire and return it promptly to ASIA. On September 1st, the responses will be organized and collated and will be handed over to a committee who will use the specific information accrued in this survey as their guide in writing the bylaws. This is your one and only chance to air your views and have them pull some weight prior to the writing of the ASIA bylaws.

Once the bylaws are written and approved by our legal counsel, you will receive a copy. As the bylaws will define who is eligible for voting and/or non-voting membership, there will be a wide-scale promotion for eligible members initiated immediately. Should you become a member, the $10 you have already donated will be deducted from your membership fee. Within a short, but reasonable amount of time, there will be an election for whatever board of directors is provided for in the bylaws.

It is hoped that financial statements will continue to be published reoular1y, and membership lists (including addresses, but not phone numbers) will be updated and published regularly as well. It seems only reasonable that members should be able to reach one another easily, and that they should at very least know how their money is being handled.

A word of thanks

Although I will gladly take the blame for any bad decisions made during this temporary stint as coordinator of ASIA, I cannot in good conscience take credit for the large amount of work that has been done to arrive at the point of this newsletter. Many people have helped enormously and are continuing to do so. My heartfelt thanks go to all of them, with the assurance that in the fullness of time they will be accorded a fitting show of our (ASIA's) gratitude.

“ASIA is an organization where you not only grow your skills, but grow your extended family. I have met so many wonderful, knowledgeable people through this organization.” ~Michael Dickinson, Martin Guitar