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Ukrainian artist strikes a chord with matchsticks

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By Reuters
Ukrainian artist strikes a chord with matchsticks
Ukrainian craftsman Bogdan Senchukov uses safety matches while making a violin at his workshop in the town of Zhashkiv, Ukraine November 7, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko   -   Copyright  VALENTYN OGIRENKO(Reuters)

By Margaryta Chornokondratenko

ZHASHKIV, Ukraine (Reuters) – Ukrainian Bogdan Senchukov wants to carve his way into the Guinness Records: by making the world’s biggest collection of musical instruments from matchsticks.  

Already, 15 of his real-sized instruments, including two guitars, accordions, violin and drums, are played by a band of musicians which prides itself as the only “match music band” in Ukraine.

Senchukov’s hobby started at school and he has since then handcrafted items recreated in minute detail, including a tank from The World of Tanks computer game and a miniature Eiffel Tower, but his real passion is musical instruments.    

“(What I love) is to carve, to glue, to make it hold the shape, to take into account microns of a millimetre and to make it play in the end,” Senchukov, 29, told Reuters as he worked on his second violin.  

“When the instrument plays … I cannot find words to express my feelings when something made of these tiny sticks plays as an ordinary musical instrument does.”

While most modern musical instruments are made of beech or acacia wood, Senchukov’s instruments are made of what experts say is the least ‘musical’ wood, aspen, commonly used to make matches. 

It took Senchukov six months and 27,000 matchsticks to create a bass musical instrument in the shape of a trident, the Ukrainian coat of arms, which he now plays in the band.  

He said the most challenging part of his work was when some elements require more than 10 hours of continuous work. For example, a violin or guitar string plate has to be produced in one sitting, otherwise it will lose its shape.

Another time-consuming process was cleaning the match heads, but Senchukov’s art and efforts did not go unnoticed, and one Ukrainian factory now provides him with matchwood.

A holder of three national records, Senchukov is collecting documents to prove to the Guinness World Records that he has the biggest collection of musical instruments made of matchsticks.

(Edited by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)