Earlier this year I started on a new journey of flute making. For so many years I have focused on the aesthetics of the natural wood and how it finishes as God’s eye intended. To this day most of the flutes I craft are in this vein.
Last September I decided built a flute for the 2018 Western Design Conference held each year in Jackson Hole Wyoming that was different than I had done in past shows. This flute was the first flute I painted a color and in this case I chose high gloss black. I loved it so much I decided to build another one just like it only with a 7/8″ bore flute while this one featured a 1″ bore.
Black Flute Sound Sample
Flutes like the one shown here have a lot of man hours in them and thus typically a much higher price point. This flute found a home in Nashville Tennessee early this summer. I have since built several others one in Red and another in Gun Metal Blue. But the flute I am working on now shown at the top of this post is for a customer in Texas who was a Texas Longhorn fan. However the color this time for me was inspired by a 1972 Orange and White Chevy pickup truck.
Big Red Sound Sample
This new orange flute features the same design as the others in that the totem rails are crafted from Maple and the whimsical mustang fetish is crafted of either Maple or Port Orford Cedar. The flute itself is made from Old Growth Alaskan Yellow Cedar which produces a very nice sounding flute. Listen to the samples of the others provided and here how nice these flutes sound. The 7/8″ bore makes this a very nice sized flute in your hands.
My goal with these new flutes is to make available a very nice flute at a price point that is affordable and yet a bit different. Of coarse we can bling them up but I think this new line of flutes offers something most artists seek and that is “Simple Elegance”
It is always an honor when someone reaches out to me for a special project they have in mind. This flute was no exception. This piece was commissioned by a gentleman in Scottsdale Arizona who had a vision for a flute he wanted. Originally this project was to have a Bison theme to it but soon after we started construction there was a change request which we agreed to as it seem to make perfect sense.
This 6 hole flute is hand crafted from Old Growth Black Walnut and features Old Growth Alaskan Yellow Cedar Fetish rails. The Eagle fetish is crafted from both Black Walnut and the bird itself is from Maple. As with every flute I build specifically for someone I look for the story behind the project. In this case this buyers story fit the end product we will finally deliver this week.
The genesis for this flute started back in the mid 1850’s when pioneers heading west brought with them Walnut trees to be planted around their farm houses and barns.
“Wow! That is a masterpiece, a master who is in touch with the spirit of the material. One who is truly connected to the elements of Mother Earth. It has been an honor to know you and your work. The Great Spirit, the Creator has gifted you. ”
The walnut this flute came from was harvested from trees planted just west of Boulder Colorado and as best we can tell the tree was planted around 1850 or so.
The Alaskan Yellow Cedar used for the rails comes from Old Growth trees cut from Vancouver Island that are at least hundreds of years old and the Maple also came from the Boulder Colorado area. So this lumber has traveled another 500 miles north to my shop here along the Snake River here in Jackson Wyoming. Then one last journey of 900 miles to its new home in Scottsdale Arizona.
The Eagle Theme was something I had not really done previously and when Jim shared with me other eagle fetish designs he had seen and liked I knew I would need to find a fetish that fits within my whimsical fetish designs and its coming marriage to this flute. I did not want this to be in any way a representation of someone elses work.
Because I live along the Snake River there are many Bald Eagle nests around my home and while on my afternoon walks I would watch the males fishing from above. This fetish is my representation of watching these magnificent birds dive for fish along the river and this is where the idea for this particular bird came from.
I wanted to inlay a stone into this flute so I selected a piece of polished Idaho Picture Jasper and set it in a silver bezel which I inlaid into the body of the flute. I really liked the colors in this stone as it really seems to match the colors found in both the flute, the leather and the stands. Although this is a time-consuming value add I really like how it came out and this stone seemed to be right at home once it was set. All of
the leather accents are from hand selected Bison hides matching the
colors in the stone perfectly.
One really cool feature is the way the feathers (replicas) are hung from the flute body. In stead of using trade cloth and sinew to wrap the upper portion of the leather straps I hand crafted a stone bead crafted from a piece of Catlinite (Sacred Pipestone) and it acts kind of like a bolo tie which makes it easy to adjust and even remove the feathers if desired. Another time-consuming value add but well worth the effort as it really makes or a clean presentation.
The stands came right out of the forest behind my home here in Wyoming. I guess you could say they are truly repurposed tree branches. Anyway I wanted to make something simple, yet functional and look good too. Finally I added a hand crafted Bison leather case for the flute to be carried or stored in. Hand crafted by Leah Burgess from Riversong Leather Studios out of Laramie Wyoming. This is a beautiful work of art all in its own right.
Once the flute was complete and ready to be delivered I added the final accents of leather braid and beads. The beads that hang from the braid are a combination of Sterling Silver and Glass Crow beads. We added a 4th hole leather cover that can be used as is or removed. All in all a very nice project that I am very proud of ! Oh… and it plays nice and sounds good. Listen to the clip below…
Future Commissions are available for those interested in a project of their own so reach out to me with questions at “firstname.lastname@example.org” … I would love to make one for you.
Today I added updates on 3 new flutes that have been started. View new pictures to our Under Construction Page. One is a Commissioned piece and the other two are currently available. There is time to add custom touches to them if you are interested. For those interested in following what I am up to our Under Construction page is a good place to check out. Everything you find on this page that is not available can be commissioned. Check out the latest update and follow the journey of one of my newly Commissioned Art pieces…