first_imgAlistair Hay from Emerald Guitars gets ready for the long journey.AN exciting project that spans three continents has reunited a local guitar manufacturer with a Canadian artist whom he first met on a chance meeting in Donegal over two decades ago.Tomorrow Alistair Hay from St Johnston, will travel to China where he will have one of his unique Emerald Guitars decorated with Eastern philosophy-influenced art by Canadianartist Kristel Ouwehand for a Chicago-based customer.The founder and driving force behind one of the leading carbon fibreguitar companies in the world first met the artist in 1992.Kristel was travelling the world, financing herself through painting,and was invited by the Hay family to stay at their home for a few daysupon their encounter on Main Street, Letterkenny. While they did manage to stay in touch for a little while after,contact was lost at one stage, but thankfully re-established throughthe internet a four years ago.Kristel had left Alistair’s home leaving him with a painting which hada profound effect on him and became a symbol for his own personaljourney.Alistair said: “She came and stayed in our house for a few days and inreturn she painted a picture of a horse for me.“It was a beautiful picture depicting the horse with a flowing maneand tail galloping in the wind and it has held pride of place eversince.” Kristel went on to settle, first in Northern India and then moving onto China where she worked with Buddhist monks, learned the way oftheir art and recently set up the Amdo Art Projects in the monasterytown of Xiahe, Gansu (Facebook: ‘Amdo Arts Projects’).Having found each other again on the internet, Alistair and Kristeldecided they would love to work on a project together some day, if theopportunity arose.Four years later, an Emerald Guitars customer contacted Alistairrequesting a custom-made nine-string guitar.As if this wasn’t unique in itself, the customer also said that hewould like his guitar to feature Eastern philosophy-influenced art,This prompted Alistair to contact his old friend. “We started talkingabout the design and I realised that it wasn’t something I could do. “Instantly, I knew it was Kristel who would have to do this. I calledher and I also spoke to the costumer and he said ‘If you can take theguitar to China in person and have the artwork done, go for it’.”And so visas were applied for and flights to China were booked forAlistair and his media manager, Greencastle man Alan McLaughlin, totake the guitar to the monastery town where Kristel is running the artproject.“What’s so exciting about this project is that it’s a lot of differentlife experiences of mine coming together to allow this to happen.“It’s bringing a story full circle; that first connection withKristel, all those years ago, reconnecting with her in her home inChina and creating a very special piece for one of our customers,”said Alistair.In the history of Emerald Guitars there have been a select number ofinstruments that have marked milestones in the Donegal company’sstory. This began with the very first Emerald Guitar to be given to someone,which just happened to be American rock legend Steve Vai, to the newmost famous guitar in the world, Chinese-American pop star WangLeehom’s Chinese dragon guitar, simply known as Bahamut.Alistair has also had the privilege to build instruments forworld-famous acts such as legendary rockers Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, andmany more.“I have always said we are not a company that makes guitars, we’re acompany that makes stories. We always work with our customers to makea memorable experience and create something special for them,” said.THE DONEGAL GUITAR WHICH TOOK 20 YEARS TO GET TO CHINA! was last modified: September 16th, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:donegalEmerald Guitarslast_img

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