Friday, July 25, 2014

Favorite places on Cortes Island

The summer season of boaters, cyclists, campers and families enjoying Cortes Island is in full swing. I decided to go view the locations that are carrying the Journey Oracle divination deck--looking at them with the eyes of a visitor.

Manson's Landing Community Hall hosts the Friday Market, a building both new and old.  The new post office is a bright addition to the old hall entrance, with its small community notice board and tin roof.  Inside is a bustle of activity, which I get to survey from my Oracle card location on the stage.

The Oracle cards are also across the street from the community hall at Marni's Bookstore.  This little shop has a classic out-island feel.  No electricity, and if you want to buy a book but don't have the money right now, Marni keeps track of your debt with a paper clip on the receipt book.

The front counter features Cortes Island authors and it is an honour to be on the table with Ruth Ozeki and Norm Gibbons.

The Craft Store at Squirrel Cove has been a tourist favorite for decades.  Many boaters stop here for groceries, liqueur and artful island creations.

The artists who display work at the craft store comprise the staff that operates the store every day until early September.  Stop by and you just might find the Journey Oracle in attendance!

Friday, July 18, 2014

How I make a drum

I am on facebook!  And I would like you to join me as I show how I make a drum.  I am posting pictures and explanations in a photo album as I work through the long journey of creating a frame drum....from the hide's humble beginnings in a bucket of lime water--

to the painting of a drum with raw earth pigments.

The hide I will be working with is from the hunters of the Klahoose First Nation, who take deer for the elders and give me the skins.  Enjoy this journey of the drum on my facebook page.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

How to fall in love again

No matter how great and complicated a phenomenon is an infatuation with art and its mystery--sometimes one must simply go sailing. It is then ridiculously easy to fall in love again, with everything.
In this way, one renews the education of the heart.  Happy summer from the Journey Oracle.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Seeing animal spirits in a frame drum

When I begin to paint a shamanic frame drum, I first gaze into the dried deer skin looking for eyes. Always it seems the eyes come first, and then slowly, the creature reveals itself.  But I must commit to painting the eyes.

Usually there is very little detail that I need to add--a brush stoke there, a small shape further on.  If the spirit animal is truly within the surface and the energy of the drum, it will provide the spark of recognition that guides me.

My most important contribution is to not direct the appearance of the animal showing itself.  Creatures in the realm of spirit do not compose their features as we do in this reality.  Eyes look in two places at once, young and old inhabit the same body, human and animal coexist in a physical form.

This buffalo combines all of the qualities I just mentioned, plus has a gaze of both engagement and detached appraisal that is quite compelling.  The creatures of the other side certainly have their own agenda for coming to be a spirit companion.  Especially when the drum is purchased unpainted, as this one was, and the image comes after the new drummer is known.

Very little paint was used to find the details of this significant companion; the white throughout the buffalo's body and surrounding is in the drum itself, and not added.  This causes me to wonder how the new owner of this drum might be going to learn from the story of the White Buffalo Calf Woman.

You can find out more about my drums, and drumsticks made from felted wool and traditional smoke-tanned leather at