Roger Bodley has enjoyed relaxing with wood, clay, steel and stone throughout his life as a practical hands-on interventional radiologist in both England and Tasmania, and has always been more interested in the more off-beat pursuits.
Intrigued by violinist Emily Sheppard’s musical inspiration by the undulating fronds of bull kelp in the waters around Tasmania’s coasts and her kelp resonator, he took up the challenge to make a violin body from kelp so enabling her playing to be more connected and related to its inspiration.
There were many challenges thrown up by the unusual properties of the organic material and after an initial attempt, he was much aided by long term friend Chris Henderson’s scientific approach to exploring these properties.
Roger has made five complete violins and, having made 4 conventional ukuleles, he adapted the technique to making 2 kelp ukuleles which have been played by Emily’s musical partner Yyan Ng. There remain other instruments to try, such as drums, but probably not a cello for Georgia, the third member of Emily’s group.
The Kelp Violins and Ukeleles are exhibited as part of Organology.