These past couple months, Willis Music Company held a ukulele decorating contest where participants created their own unique designs and submitted their final artwork photo to our Facebook page. We were happy congratulate and do a Q&A interview with our contest winner, Jenifer Dittelberger, on her ukulele submission, Flamulele.
Q: How did you find out about the “Uke” Can Do It Facebook Photo Contest
A: I found the contest while scrolling through Facebook.
Q: Tell us the meaning behind “Flamulele” and what inspired it.
A: I chose the flame design because it is a juxtaposition with the ukulele. For me the ukulele is a happy, playful, light-hearted instrument. A ukulele is like laughter. Flames are violent and destructive. The flames are something you’d see on an electric guitar or a hot rod. It’s sort of meant to be sarcastic. I actually got the idea for the flames after I saw a hot rod car. Additionally I thought the shape of the ukulele was flame-like. I also placed a “Fight Club” sticker on the uke’s body. That was in reference to the late, great Pete Seeger who painted a message on his banjo’s head that read, “This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender”. I think music and art are powerful tools to fight for what you believe in and against what you do not.
Q: Please tell us your creative process throughout the decorating of this ukulele.
Once I decided on the flame motif I traced the body of the uke on a piece of paper and used color pencils to do a rough sketch. I chose a craft paint that had a gloss to emulate the shine of a car’s finish.
Q: Is this the first time you’ve decorated a ukulele or have you done that before?
A: I like having unique items. I like to decorate and accessorize my belongings in unique ways. This is the first time I’ve decorated a ukulele. I was hesitant to paint the instrument because I didn’t know if it would affect the sound quality. Luckily the paint doesn’t seem to have any negative effect.
Q: Do you play ukulele?
A: I’ve been playing the ukulele for about 3 years. I am a musician and piano teacher. I also play guitar, sax, and sing.
Q: What uke did you use? Is it a Willis Music ukulele?
A: The Flamulele is a Makala soprano. I bought it a little over three years ago at Willis Music Kenwood. It was my first ukulele. I also have a Cordoba tenor acoustic electric ukuele.
Q: How long did this design take you to complete?
A: It took about 3 hours to design and paint the uke.
Q: What does combining art and music mean to you?
A: Music is my passion and profession. It is how I express myself. Having a creative visual to go along with my music is very important to me. Music is how I speak. Art is how I dream.
Q: Have you shopped with Willis Music before? If yes, for how long have you been a customer?
A: I have been shopping at Willis Music since I was a kid, so I’d say over 30 years! When my parents saw I was serious about music they purchased a baby grand piano for me from Willis Music. I used that piano to start my own music teaching studio. I still shop there today to buy music and instruments for my students and myself.
Q: Any further thoughts you have about Willis Music or the contest in general?
A: I thought the contest was a fun, creative idea! I’m happy I won, but I wish more people had entered! Since music is such a big part of my life I guess you could also say Willis Music has been too! I’ve spent many happy hours shopping at several different locations. When I first started teaching piano I used to visit the old Tri-County Mall location almost every week looking for music for my students. I’ve never really thought about it until now, but it truly is a store that has brought me happiness and helped me become a better musician and person! Sax reeds, guitar strings, tuners, ukuleles, recorders, piles and piles of music I’ve acquired all this and much more from the Willis Music Company! I can’t wait to shop with the gift certificate I won in the contest! I’ve been thinking about learning to play the melodica so I will probably purchase one of those on my next visit! Thank you!