What is your favorite wellness activity?
Creating Cigar Box Guitars.
How long have you been doing it?
September of 2017.
How did you get started?
I was diagnosed with lymphoma and had to take time off work. I’m not a professional musician, but I love music and played guitar as a kid. I knew there was a whole culture to it, so I started making them. The first one was pretty good and with each one, I improved my process. In total I have made 49, including a mandolin, a stand up base, and a 6 string electric guitar.
How does this activity impact your mental, physical, and / or emotional well-being?
It helped me get through chemo. While I was sick, I would go to the garage and work on cigar box guitars. It allowed me to be creative and do something when I was unable to do many of the things I was used to. In addition to a creative outlet, I was also able to work with my hands, which I love. Now I’m even making cool toys for my son.
How does this activity bring wellness to your life when other activities have not?
There are so many benefits I receive from creating cigar box guitars. Each project brings a unique set of problems that I get to solve with my hands. It makes me think in a way that surgery and medicine do not. Creating cigar box guitars is always challenging me to think in different ways. I’m always changing how I do things.
I use repurposed materials that would otherwise be thrown out. For instance; I have used screws and rods that I have removed from patients for bridges and nuts. I want to use the port that I had in my chest for chemo as a toggle switch for a resistor. When I make the purses for my wife, she gives me old belts to use as straps. To date auctioning off these Guitars and purses has made over $2000 for charities.
Finally, it’s just fun to be a part of the 3 string cigar box guitar community. It’s something simple that’s really cool and a lot of fun to play. Reach out if you want to learn more!