Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Being a drum maker

The drum is art-full; an object whose beauty is a reflection of the goodness of fit of every part, and every part between the parts. In my understanding the wood, skin, pigments, stones and embellishments are seen as beautiful because they have spiritual significance.  We apprehend that something is going on in the subtlety of the design, in the pattern and number of thongs, in the choices of construction, besides the design and number and pattern.  It is this opening into Mystery that touches us; that we name as "beautiful."

 I have drawn from many sacred stories when learning to make my drums, especially those telling of the women's drumming traditions in old European Goddess cultures. My experience watching Layne Redmond play and teach frame drumming led me into a slow process of detective work to re-member from the ashes of white history, the legacy of women as drum makers and players.

 The paintings on my drums come from gazing, while in a light trance, at the surface of the drum until creatures and beings appear.   I understand as I paint that I am bringing their images from another reality into this one. My skill is in being true to the appearance they show me, and not to my 'artistic' training.

 I totally know there is a spirit of the drum.  This is not a belief for me; in the sense that a belief is something I can only trust to be so.  I can feel and especially hear each drum's living voice.  From my earliest experiences with them drums have been living beings to me.