I grew up in London, the daughter of an Austrian car-mechanic father and a British mother who was the secretary for the family-run garage business. I spent much of my childhood making things, playing the cello and going to concerts. When I was sixteen my parents took me to buy a cello from a violin repairer, and as soon as I walked into his workshop I knew this was what I wanted to do.
When I left school I took up a place at the Newark School of Violin Making. On completing the course in 1980 I set up my first workshop, in rural Leicestershire, where I focussed on making new instruments, developing strong links with players. In1995 my marriage was the catalyst for a move to a workshop in the centre of the thriving city of Manchester, which gave me a wonderful opportunity to deepen my contacts with musicians, and to work closely with them on sound, set-up and playability. I now work from a purpose-built studio at my home in the Manchester suburbs.
Away from the workbench, I have a longstanding interest in writing and lecturing on topics related to violin making. My book, Violin Varnish: notes and articles from the workshop of Koen Padding was published in September 2015, and reissued in a second edition by The Strad in September 2018. I have also contributed articles for publications including The Strad and the Newsletter of the British Violin Making Association, and spoken at conferences of the British Violin Making Association, Newark Lutherie days and Strad Sundays. You can download pdf files of these from the Talks and Articles section of this site.