Hunter student's guitar hits the right note

Creative soul: Mae Anagnostis, pictured at the Australian Guitar Making School in Toronto, hopes to bring the travel guitar on future trips to Indonesia, Mexico, South America and Europe. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
Creative soul: Mae Anagnostis, pictured at the Australian Guitar Making School in Toronto, hopes to bring the travel guitar on future trips to Indonesia, Mexico, South America and Europe. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

WHEN Mae Anagnostis started building an acoustic travel guitar from scratch, she was trying to fill a gap in the market.

But what started as a project to make the lives of touring musicians easier has landed her a spot in Shape, a selection of outstanding major projects from the HSC Design and Technology, Industrial Technology and Textiles and Design courses.

“It was a really nice surprise,” Ms Anagnostis, 18, said of her selection.

“I feel very honoured and happy, because it was a lot of hard work.

“I never expected I could get into this exhibition, but I’m very grateful.

“Knowing my work is going to be hanging in the Powerhouse Museum is a very humbling and overwhelming thought.”

The former St Philip’s Christian College student’s father and older brother play guitar and her twin brother plays the ukulele.

She had also started learning the guitar when she decided to follow in her brother’s footsteps and make her own instrument, at the Australian Guitar Making School in Toronto in 2015.

When it came time to decide on a major project for Design and Technology, she decided to make another, but one that had a removable neck and sides so it could fit into a suitcase.

“I knew there were a few travel guitars out there but most were small and didn’t sound that good,” she said.

“I wanted one that sounded good and travelled well.”

Ms Anagnostis spent about 200 hours building the guitar from ethically sourced Mahogany on the head and neck, Tasmanian Blackwood on the sides and back and Engelmann spruce for the top.

She used Indian rosewood for the bridge, a type of wood which is now subject to trade restrictions because it is endangered.

Ms Anagnostis, who also studied Visual Arts, English, Studies of Religion, Community and Family Studies and Outdoor Recreation, allocated a few hours to the project each week, but often devoted entire weekends to the guitar.

“I really enjoyed the sculpting side of the process – it was meditative creating something out of nothing,” she said.

“I see myself as more of an artist because I’m not as confident as a musician, but maybe I will be one day.

“It was quite satisfying after completing the subject to not just have more knowledge in my brain, but be able to hold a project I physically created from scratch.”

Ms Anagnostis is a co-founder of a not for profit organisation The Y Project, which holds events to raise awareness for social justice issues.

She has been offered a place to study a Business and Development Studies degree at the University of Newcastle, which she hopes to start in 2019. 

Shape shows at the Powerhouse Museum from February 23 to May 6.