I have a confession to make. I am a writer. I write nearly every day in my journal and find it to be the most therapeutic aspect of my life. Trust me, I will not subject the readers of this blog to the mostly mundane and often personal thoughts that I collect on those pages. These pages will be devoted primarily to my world as a mouthpiece maker and clarinetist.

Making mouthpieces is a very solitary occupation and many days I am at this for 8-10 hours. This gives me a lot of time to THINK about my craft. After more than 20 years of exploring the nuances of mouthpiece making I am still searching for the “perfect” formula. Mouthpiece making is more art than science and a “great” mouthpiece is a matter of subjectivity. However, a “good” mouthpiece can be quantified and I will certainly get into that in future blogs. My intention is to engender some discussion about the nuts and bolts activity of mouthpiece making as well as the more esoteric topic of sound and tone. I am also quite interested in the history of mouthpiece making and I would welcome any discussions on that topic.

I am fortunate to also be a very active free lance clarinetist in San Francisco, which gets me out of the shop regularly. When I am playing a run with the San Francisco Opera or playing a week with the SF Symphony, my life becomes hectic – nearly schizophrenic – in the attempt to keep up on the business AND practice and make rehearsals and concerts. But, this is the life I have developed in my beloved city of San Francisco and I would not trade it for any other. I would like to offer my insights as a performer here as well.

A further confession – I am a wannabe artist. My close friends know about my love of art and my recent ( 3 years ago) enrollment in classes for figure drawing at SF City College. I am now in a weekly drawing group that meets at the John Grunewald print studio on Plum Street in San Francisco. I am fortunate to be the sole amateur among a group of very accomplished artists. While the making of music feeds my soul and mouthpiece making feeds ME, it is this new adventure of drawing from the figure that truly satisfies my urge towards artistic creativity. Here is a self portrait from last December.

Clark at age 54

Clark at age 54

It is 5am PST and I must try to get some sleep before launching into another full day of mouthpiece making. Currently I am working on orders for MUNCY WINDS, Fredich H. Weiner and Woodwind & Brasswind. TOO MUCH TO DO!!