In the internet age, taking up a craft is almost as easy as opening a browser and finding a YouTube channel or subreddit. While many view craftsmanship as a way to pass the time, there are still a few left who see honing such skills as a calling — finding a higher purpose in learning the methods of the past and preserving them in the present.
Stuart Day fits that latter description. As a luthier, he’s trained in the construction and repair of stringed instruments. He’s no hobbyist. “My path was more formal training,” says Day, who attended the Galloup School of Lutherie, in Michigan.
Now, with the benefit of his academic experience, years of formal apprenticeship with school founder Bryan Galloup, and professional experience with other notable luthiers, 32-year-old Day is preparing to open a storefront for his lutherie business, Stuart Day Guitars, in the newly revitalized Allentown business district. The grand opening is on June 17.
Though he has an eye to the future, Day still faces the timeless challenge of a fickle market. “Building instruments is good money when the money comes in, but it’s kind of a feast-or-famine industry. The challenge for lutherie is trying to find a good, workable business model. It’s always changing. What worked for luthiers 20 years ago doesn’t necessarily work for luthiers my age,” he says.
But Day, a North Side resident, hopes to create more than just a storefront. He sees the potential for more. “I’ll have some retail here, but retail is not my focus. My focus is on creating an inviting space where we can do workshops and get-togethers. Where musicians can get together, where other luthiers in the area can get together, and other woodworkers can get together,” he says
In Allentown, Day finds a good fit for his goals as a business owner and an artisan. “They’re trying to build a business district that centers around creativity and good food and things like that,” he says.
“My long-term goal is I’d like to be a figure that some of the older people in my industry have been to me. I’d like to mentor people. I’d like to help instill an interest in music and craft in whatever community I’m part of, because I think both of those things are really important.”
For more information, visit www.stuartdayguitars.com.