The Beginning of Blessley Instruments -- A Tale of Two Loves

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Once upon a time, two star-struck lovers had David Harper (real name) play folk harp at their wedding. Both had loved the harp for years. He had used harp music in his work as a massage therapist. She, a long-time musician, just had to learn to play this instrument that made her weep, made her happy, and lulled her to sleep.

They rented a harp (a fine Rydecki Tristan model) which sat grandly in their living room between practice sessions and imagined concerts. Mark, being a woodworker of much talent, would sit on the couch and look at this harp. One day, he decided, "I could build that." Valerie, desiring an even finer instrument, heartily agreed.

To make a long story shorter, Val's teacher, David, knew Jerry Goldsberry of Hummingbird Instruments. An introduction was arranged, and they were invited to visit Jerry's shop. Lo and behold, when Jerry opened the door, there stood Mark's long-lost twin... same beard, same glasses, same hat and flannel shirt. It had to be more than a coincidence. Jerry helped Mark build the first harp for Valerie, and encouraged him to continue building others.

At the time, Mark was taking "pre-med" courses to become a Chiropractor; this endeavor later took them to Vancouver, Washington. Mark and Valerie began to make more harps... which helped pay tuition payments. It's not cheap to become a Chiropractor, you know. More than the income source, harp building became a form of therapy for Mark, an opportunity to get away from the pressures of school. An artist needs his creative outlet. Mark graduated and became a Doctor of Chiropractic in 1997.

Valerie, a degreed fine artist, educator, and Mark's faithful wife, quickly became his "Key Grip." She has sharpened her skills in gluing, clamping, sanding, stringing, and best of all, wood sculpture/carving. Her art work on the harps helps give each of them its own unique "personality."

Blessley Instruments has evolved from making only square backed harps to making stave backed harps, and is now delving into the specialty of custom designed and built cross-strung harps of five octaves.

Various harpers, both famous and non-professional, have said that Blessley harps have "excellent voice throughout the full range." We encourage you to listen and compare.

Blessley Instruments produces only a few of their custom crafted harps per year, the average being 2-4 instruments. Most are made-to-order for individual harpers. In addition to harps, they also make bowed psalteries, and tone boxes (slit drums). A chord zither is in progress.

They'd love to talk to you about your dream harp when you're ready for a Blessley Instrument. That's the whole story in a nutshell. Thanks for sticking with it.

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