About Pipemaker Ray Sloan
Bagpipe maker, Ray Sloan
I vividly remember the day I first heard bagpipes – other than the ubiquitous Great Highland Bagpipes. It was in 1964 as an 11 year old at school in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne when my Art Teacher emerged from the store room strapped-in to an instrument driven by a flapping arm attached to bellows, that instrument was the Northumbrian Smallpipe. I remember being absolutely smitten by the sound of the pipes at a time when the Beatles and Rolling Stones were the preferred sound of my generation, little did I know that 16 years later history would repeat itself when I myself became an Art Teacher and later a Piper/Pipemaker. That experience as a young boy never left me but it was not until as a young man of 24 that I was financially able to achieve my dream and buy a set of pipes – thanks to a tax rebate !
It was as a maker of Northumbrian Smallpipes that I first established myself as a Pipemaker building my first set in 1980. I went on to send pipes to many International destinations, but it was simultaneous with developing my Northumbrian Smallpipes that I also continued to develop the Scottish Smallpipes and later the Lowland Pipes.
Having established myself as a maker sending pipes to many national and international destinations I decided to take the plunge and gave up Teaching to pursue my passion for piping/pipemaking and became a full-time professional Pipemaker in 1988. Never one for ‘sitting on my laurels’ to this day I continue to develop my style and design in pursuit of ‘perfection’ and so no two sets are the same.
The importance of my experience and training in Art & Design cannot be underestimated when it comes to making Pipes as visual skills and attention to detail and design are applied to every aspect of my work. I like to feel that my pipes and their design are uniquely my own and I approach each set of pipes as completely individual and different in some small way to the previous, which means that you as a client will receive a set of Pipes hand-made for you personally.