It seems that several of Canada’s best luthiers live in the Grey and Bruce counties. Two of them are the husband and wife team of Sibylle Ruppert and Gregory Walke. They live in Paisley which is a heritage village nestled at the juncture of the Teeswater River and Saugeen River in Grey Bruce County. Gregory is from Toronto and Sibylle is from Germany. They met in 1980 at the school for makers in Abertridwr, Wales, where they studied with Malcolm Siddall. In 1988, after spending several years working in various shops, they chose to leave Europe and move to Canada. They chose Canada in part because they thought it would be easier to start their own business here rather than in Germany, with the guild system they have there. They chose Owen Sound because they had friends there and they enjoy the lifestyle outside of the bigger cities.
They eventually bought a house and built a shared studio where they now work. Greg is a luthier and Sibylle builds and also repairs instruments. They make violins and violas, and they have a particular interest in cellos.
Sibylle loves the physicality of her work and she enjoys living and working in a place with such beautiful landscapes, waterways and woods. There are many musicians and talented artisans living in the area. Some of the local events and performers include:
- Kincardine Summer Music Festival
- Leith and Sweetwater Music Festivals
- the Gryphon Trio
- Penderecki Quartet
- Scott St. John
- Shauna Rolston
- Mark Fewer
- Denise Djokic
- Lafayette Quartet
Sibylle also plays in the Georgian Bay Symphony which she says helps her to appreciate the needs of working musicians and to value the opinions of dedicated amateurs.
Sibylle and Greg’s instruments are sold through shops in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Ottawa, as well as directly from their website. For more information you can visit their website and you may also enjoy an interesting article called Local Colour by Colin Eatock about several talented luthiers living in Owen Sound.