Matt Wehling first began bow work in 1991, inspired by watching a repairman take the top off his violin. Like many of his American contemporaries, his first studies were at week-long summer courses with Bill Salchow. However, Matt soon decided that to build top quality bows, he would have to quit his job and go to France to study with contemporary modern Masters.
In 1995, Wehling spent eight months in the shop of Benoît Rolland in Vannes, Brittany, France. Monsieur Rolland was the first graduate of the renowned Mirecourt bowmaking school, studying under Bernard Ouchard. As a consequence of his work with Monsieur Rolland, Matt was asked to join the shop of Georges Tepho in Quimper, Brittany, France.
Monsieur Tepho had also attended the Mirecourt school, studying under Ouchard and Roger Lotte. Matt worked with Monsieur Tepho until he left France in the Spring of 2001. “I am very thankful to Benoît for giving me my basis of technique and my love for the work and history of French bowmaking. I am very grateful to Georges for helping me refine my technique, focus my goals, and translate the seriousness with which I learned to craft bows into being a true artisan.”
Wehling spent the summer of 2001 working with bowmakers in Port Townsend, Washington, before settling in Northfield, Minnesota, a small college town 45 minutes south of the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area.
In 2010 Wehling received his 5th Gold Medal from the Violin Society of America (VSA), putting him into the elite “Hors Concours” category of makers who are no longer allowed to compete. He was subsequently asked to be a judge for that competition. In 2011 he became one of only a few people to win multiple awards in the City of Paris Etienne Vatelot Competition, garnering the First Prize for a cello bow and Second Prize for his violin bow.
Wehling’s extended studies in France provide a unique background among contemporary American makers. He continues to spend a considerable portion of each year in France collaborating with colleagues.