Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Thanksgiving blessing from a little deer

I put out a call for deer skins for my drum making on our Cortes island website.  I did not imagine that it would be Nature who would answer my advertisement.  There is an image in this post that may be upsetting for some to see, so please be forewarned. 

Five times I knew about, and yet did not manage to find this little deer I first saw dead beside the road.  I went back and did not locate it.  Then a neighbor called to say there was a little deer by the road.  My partner and I went to look and still we did not find it.  Finally, on my way to do an errand, I noticed a raven near the location we had be searching.  Sure enough, the deer's body had been pulled further back in the bush, either by two- or four-leggeds.

It is very unlike me to try and lift a deer, even a little one, into a car trunk, but there was no one to help, and I did ask for drum skins so how could I give up?

I have only once skinned a deer and so I felt like a student presenting a"how to workshop" and doing a terrible job.  However, just before I began I was thinking of the elder friend who helped me the first time, and while on my errand there he was, walking down the road.  I told him I had a young deer in my trunk ( not a typical greeting) and could he help me remember what to do.  I had good support from his advice. 

This became my first drum skin of the autumn season. I know it may seem grim to some to be showing this effort, but I feel it is important to experience the entire process of my art, so that every part, and every part between the part, receives respect.

Certainly I could start a new university course about ways that people show disrespect for the animals that give themselves to either our intention or inattention.

This tambourine drum was brought to me to repair because it was  left in a garage for years until the skin weakened, and then a child accidentally put her foot through it.

This drum head was rescued from a small dog that was busy trying to swallow it.

I learned I could sew up a tear and it would not affect the drum's voice.

This drum skin had the worst wound I have ever worked with.  Of course there is no way of knowing just how the deer was hurt, but I was amazed at this wild creature's resiliency and will to survive

Perhaps the most beautiful drum I have ever painted arrived in a plastic bag filled with maggots.  The skin looked as if the deer had been dragged through the bush behind a truck since all the hair was worn off the hindquarters.  The dark pattern in the lower part of the painting is where the skin was damaged from abrasion.

And yet Nature's creatures love us still. Like Royalty.  Not in arrogance and privilege, but in their willingness to care for us, and receive us when we call.