Archie Powers grew up in Ashe County where he learned to make fiddles from legendary luthier, Albert Hash. The process, he reported, began when Albert visited Archie’s family to fix an old clock. Archie was fascinated with the way Albert worked, and he watched every movement. Soon Archie was walking to Albert’s home regularly to work on making a fiddle. Albert would leave Archie a tool in his mailbox, which Archie picked up and used all day until Albert came home from work. Albert inspected his day’s work, gave him some pointers, and the process was repeated until Archie finished his first fiddle. He was discouraged when he finished the first fiddle, but Albert took him to see the second fiddle he had made. Archie saw how well he had done for a first attempt. That event that helped inspire him to continue making fiddles, a craft he worked on for more than fifty years now.
Archie also made a number of guitars and mandolins, but fiddles were his favorite. He said he preferred them for the challenge. “You don’t try to beat anyone else,” Archie said, “you keep trying to beat yourself.” Archie worked with Audrey Hash Ham for a number of years, often combining efforts on a single instrument. As Albert did, Archie and Audrey often included extra ornamentation on their instruments, such as birds, men, or women instead of a scroll, or intricate engravings on the back of the scroll.
Archie helped keep the fiddle making tradition alive with Audrey by helping teach his son, Carl, how to make fiddles.