As long as I have lived in Wyoming I have made Native American Style flutes, Wyoming influenced one of a kind jewelry, custom fetish designs and I have built some amazing commissioned pipe projects. My view of Wyoming is also shared through my photography as I see it through the lens of a camera. It is these things that bring purpose and joy to my life and as with all things time seems to find a way to erode away at them. Jacksonholetim.com over time has become more of a store selling parts to others who seek the knowledge to build or learn to build the wind instrument known to most as the Native American Flute rather than a platform to share my art. I have spent countless hours crafting flute parts and sharing what took me years to learn which is to share the knowledge of how to build one of these fine instruments. I have enjoyed sharing what I have learned but now it;s time to get back to the genesis of all this.
As I get older I find less and less time to actually do what it is I want… no feel called to do which is to be a builder of flutes, pipes and share my visions of Wyoming through the lens of a camera. As I approach 60 years of age I find that time is now my biggest enemy with less and less of it at hand. I want to go back to my craft and create flutes that others will find joy in playing. So from this post forward you will see a change in our menu choices and the elimination of flute parts, wood stocks and other flute making supplies and I will begin to focus back on creating, crafting and designing new projects for others. I am actively interviewing for new commissions for flute and pipe projects. Because of the time each commission project consumes I have a limit amount of project slots I can offer each year. If you want to open a dialog for a new project that I can do for you simply reach out and let’s talk.
A couple of years have past since we have written anything about two of our local favorite music artists. Abby Gershuney has stayed with us several time over the past years and has truly become family. Abby ha worked her magic at the Jackson Hole Playhouse many time over the years and is currently performing in St. George Utah at Tuacahn Center for the Arts for the 2018 summer shows.. Abby can sing, dance, act… she can do it all but when she sings she makes people like me smile.
Many of you who know us know our son Brock Jennings. Brock is another amazingly talented singer song writer and he has an amazing voice. Abby was staying with over the Christmas Holiday while she worked for the playhouse a couple of winters ago. Not sure why they do but they waited until the last day to actually lay down some tracks. Abby had to return to New York City for while.
One of the tracks they laid down was not one of their own but a cover from Nickel Creek titled “When You Come Back Down”. Although this is a rough, uncut, unfinished track I wanted to share this with all of you again. I hope you like it. If you do please let us know we would love to see these two play this summer here in Jackson Hole and maybe some other areas too.
Click on Player below to listen to “When You Come Back Down”
“When You Come Back Down” Recorded by Abby Gurshuney and Brock Jennings, Produced by Brock Jennings, Written by Nickel Creek
A couple of years ago I came across some old American Cherry that came from an old hand hewn beam. The best we could tell this beam was more than 200 years old when the timber was cut. Because of its size this Native American Style flute would make a very nice back packer flute. This five hole flute was eventually tuned to the Key of A and both the flute body and the fetish were handcrafted from this reclaimed Cherry wood stock. This flute ended up right at 21 1/2 inches in length and features a 3/4″ flute bore. Please note that this flute was crafted entirely by hand including the flute bore which was cut with a gouge. The cutting edge was built into the body of the flute not an inlay. The fetish was from my otter series and was tied on using our hand cut black Deer Leather.
This flute like all of my flutes was hand planed to achieve its signature shape. We added a hand braided deerskin leather lace accent at the foot of the flute and there were 8 multicolored Crow Beads attached. The inside of the flute bore and slow air chamber were sealed with many coats of finish to help prevent moisture absorption. The outside was finished with more than 20+ light coats of high gloss lacquer. The tonal quality of this flute was in the upper range and it is very easy to play and very forgiving. This flute felt really nice in your hands and the color of the reclaimed Cherry gave it a very nice look. This was a very simple yet great sounding flute that actually found a home with a buyer that takes it backpacking on a regular basis.
Cherry makes for a great sounding flute but as you can see from these pictures it also produces a simple elegance. Although this flute has been sold it is available for commission. All flutes ship with a hand crafted flute bag to protect the during shipping and storage at home. Shipping is in addition to the price of the flute. Call us at (307) 690-0427 or email me at email@example.com.
Earlier this year I was commissioned to craft a new flute from Old Growth Port Orford Cedar. The client requested a flute tuned to the Key of A @ 440 Hz and she wanted it to be “Concert Tuned”. I was excited to build this new flute as Port Orford Cedar is one of my very favorite species to work with.
So I found the stock I was going to craft this flute from and from the very beginning it just all seem to come together. One new addition to this flute was the addition of an inlaid Sapodilla Cutting Edge and two totem rails crafted from the same piece of Sapodilla as the inlaid edge. By spending the extra time on an inlaid edge and using a wood species quite a bit harder than the POC this would insure a cleaner sound and more resistant to future potential damage – not to mention is looks really cool.
Because this flute was being crafted with a 7/8″ Bore and we were shooting for an “A” I knew this flute would tend to be a bit shorter than many that I make. I designed this flute to have a longer Slow Air Chamber and a stop block of around 1 1/4″ along with a 2 3/4″ blowhole to help with the overall aesthetics. One other addition was to tune the fundamental note using the 4 Winds tuning holes which also give additional length to the overall flute.
Because I handcraft and hand shape all of my flutes I have to be careful when it comes to adding Totem Rails which you can see in the image above. At this point you can see the Cutting Edge inlay is complete, the playing holes and 4 Winds tuning holes have been laid out. The Totem Rails have been added and glued to the body of the flute and at this point it was time to start the shaping of this flute.
“I am amazed and grateful for the experience of working with Tim Jennings to create a flute for me. He is quite the flute maker master! His attention to details adds a unique dimension to his flutes – the clarity of sound is amazing. The hand of flute makes it feel alive. And Tim is easy to work with, and truly listens and responds to the customer’s needs. He keeps the customer up to date every step of the way.”
Cave Creek, Arizona
After a few weeks of prep work, gluing, clamping, shaping and sanding I had come up with what for me was a new design in that this flute feature a tapered rail that when the fetish or totem was added the back of the fetish would meet the end of the taper. This approach created a bit different shape towards the mouthpiece, meaning not so round, but more of an edgy look and overall I really like it.
Tuning this flute was also a challenge as I live in the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of over 6400 feet. Our humidity is higher than Arizona which is where this flute would call home. Finally temperature is another real issue when tuning. So I decided to tune the flute to the flat side of the note with the expectation that when the flute finds its way home to Arizona the lower humidity, lower elevation and higher temperatures the note would play closer to fundamental note of A. We will see… some tweaking down the road may be required.
The final job to complete was to come up with a totem that met the desire of the client by yet allowed me to keep my whimsical tendencies that seems to run a common thread in other totems I have designed. This flute was to have some sort of horse head totem and so this was what I ended up with. The new owner likes to affectionately call it the Crazy Horse totem. Seems fitting…
We woke up again this morning to another beautiful fall day here in the Yellowstone basin! But this morning unlike many of the ones over the past few weeks was really cold. As we pulled from our driveway this morning on our way to drop Brynn off at school the temp gauge was reading 28 degrees. By the time we got across the Snake River it was 25 degrees and even colder north of town.
The Snake River looked pretty cool as there was steam coming off of the water and for that to happen the air temp must be colder than the water. Trust me, the Snake River is not something to wade in this time of year as the water temperatures have dropped quite a bit. Anyway we dropped Brynn off and headed to the coffee shop and then north of town again.
Now forgive us as our camera was acting up this morning but I think you will enjoy our little adventure. We were alone this morning and the animals were right next to our truck at every turn. We took our time and sat and watched the three moose in the pics for quite some time. They were eating the sage next to the road and for the most part ignored us. Been then they decided to check us out and we rolled away as they headed to us. Very cool!
All in all we saw antelope, buffalo, moose, geese and most certainly some spectacular views of the valley. On this morning we passed through Kelly, Wyoming, past the entrance to the Gros Ventre canyon, over to Antelope flats and Mormon Row and then home again. Another great way to share a cup of java!
A few years back my son Brock and I took a day trip to Bozeman Montana to meet some very dear friends from the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation located in Montana. Donovan Sr, is an Assiniboine Elder who trained me how to make traditional Native American Pipes, (but that is for another blog post) and Uncle Loren. The short version is we met Donovan Sr. and Uncle Loren (we call him “Uncs”) to pick up some sacred pipe stone and a couple of new pipes, just completed by Donovan Sr., to take back to Jackson Hole to be photographed. We also picked up some pipe stone for ourselves as well as exchange some pipe stems, ideas, and friendship! The day in Bozeman ended in what we call a “Good Trade” day.
Our trip started early on a Saturday morning, leaving Jackson Hole at around 8:00am. After getting our coffee and a couple of bagels we hit the road. When traveling through this part of the country, which is sooo amazing and in a single round trip of about 450 miles one can experience everything the Rockies has to throw at you. The weather this Fall day was awesome, skies were clear blue and the sun was shining bright, and the temperature was perfect when we left town. There are a couple of ways you can make your way to Bozeman from Jackson, one through Yellowstone Park’s south entrance or head through Idaho, back into Montana, north through the very northwest corner of the park and finally past Big Sky Montana as you make your way down the Gallatin River into Bozeman.
From Jackson to Bozeman is about 214 miles (one way) over some of the most beautiful roads you can travel. We chose to head west over Teton Pass and into Idaho, then north along the west side of the Teton Range. You first travel through beautiful rolling hills where much of the russet potatoes are grown in Idaho, not to mention double row barley (which Anheuser Bush buys for their beer) and after you make a turn east in Ashton Idaho you eventually end up in West Yellowstone.
For those who are not familiar with Yellowstone Park, there are 4 entrances to the park. Jackson Hole to the south, Gardiner at the north, the east entrance which leads to Cody, Wyoming and the west entrance which is West Yellowstone (it’s a town). Some of you may be familiar with West Yellowstone as some of the premier fly fishing rivers in the world are in the area. The Madison river, the Firehole, Henry’s Fork, the Buffalo, the Gallatin and many more. This is truly Lewis and Clark country.
From West Yellowstone you head north toward Bozeman and you travel though the very northwest part of Yellowstone Park and you quickly pass over the Madison River eventually picking up and following the Gallatin river all the way into Bozemen. One important note here is that you pass right through a part of the park that suffered from the big fire in 1988. It is awesome to see how nature has recovered. You pass Big Sky Montana Ski Resort and other beautiful scenery. This is one of the most beautiful stretches of road to drive at any time of the year.
Once in Bozemen we had our little pow wow with friends, stopped at a few stores and headed home. When we left Bozeman the clouds had started to gather. The weather from Jackson to Bozeman had been perfect! Clear skies, very dry roads, an easy drive. But things were about to change. We headed back up the Gallatin to West Yellowstone. This part of the trip is about 90 miles. As we pulled into West Yellowstone, Brock said “Dad why don’t we go home through the park”. I said sure let’s do it. It is important to note that this is about 4:45pm MST and it is getting darker. It is important because this is animal hour in the park.
We entered the park and headed towards the Old Faithful Geyser basin. This part of the trip from West Yellowstone to home in Jackson is about 130 miles. This is when things started to change. We first ran head on into a male buffalo that decided my truck was bigger than he was. So he mosied off the road and into the pasture that sat along the Madison river. He was the first of hundreds we were to run into this day of travels through the park. And on top of it, it was starting to rain. I quickly looked at my temperature gauge and saw that the temp has dropped drastically to 38 degrees. This was important because at 38 degrees and below it will start to snow if the conditions are right.
As we got closer to Old Faithful we saw elk, and big herds of buffalo and we drove along the banks of the Madison River, simply awesome. By the time we got to Old Faithful Geyser Basin the temperature was down to 36 and still raining. And it was now getting pretty dark. Clouded skis and looking even darker towards Jackson. Along this stretch of the road you travel along the banks of the Firehole river for part of the way and it gets it name from all the thermal activity that it passes through. An amazing sight to see in its own right.
This is an beautiful part of the park and we tried to take some pictures before the light got too low. Almost everywhere you look you see geysers, fumaroles, steam, hot pools, bubbling mud, trees, animals, – awesome! We decided to pull over to take a short break and just take in this beautiful valley. But we did not stay long as the temperature continued to drop and I said to Brock we are about to get snowed on. But the ferocity of the change was not expected.
We headed south towards home and as we got down the road about 5 miles the temp dropped to around 32 and I said to Brock here it comes. And come it did! It did not flurry a bit or start real light – it just started snowing. Now in this part of the country you will cross the Continental Divide many times. And we were heading for one of those crossings at an elevation of 8391 feet above sea level. One other thing to note here – the park was void of people as it was close to closing so we were basically on our own.
The snowflakes started to increase in size and the volume at which they fell was speeding up. The road quickly disappeared and became totally white. The snow was accumulating at a rate that I estimated at over an 1-2 inches per hour maybe even more at times. We put the truck into four-wheel drive as we were not going anywhere without it. Our speed dropped to about 25 miles per hour and we are crawling our way through Yellowstone park in the middle of a snow storm all alone. When we left Jackson it was sunny and clear. In Bozeman it was starting to cloud up but still relatively warm. West Yellowstone it started to rain and now we were surrounded in white.
Our final stop before it got real dark and we made the final trek home was the pass where we cross over the Continental Divide. We stopped and took this last picture here. We got out of our truck and it was completely quite. Snow was falling straight down and you could hear it hit the trees, your clothing, the truck. It was coming down so thick that it would fall right into your mouth. If you have never experienced the complete quite of the forest and to see snow falling straight down and building up in front of your eyes you have missed one of heaven’s real treats!!
The light faded fast and Brock and I decided that if we did not get moving we may be spending the night here as the snow was already over a foot deep on the road. We slowly made our way to the south entrance of the park and as the roads started to clear we made our way home to Jackson. You actually leave Yellowstone Park and then make your way through parts of Teton National Park before you get into the Jackson area.
This was an amazing day for Brock and I – we spent it together as father and son, we shared lunch with friends and they we got to see God’s hand on our Mother Earth. We were kissed by her this day and left with a memory I shall never forget! WE WERE TRULY BLESSED THIS DAY!
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.
Each Fall here in Jackson Hole a Conference is held that is one of the elite places for Functional Art to be displayed, sold and judged. The Western Design Conference is the premier place for artists like myself to showcase their best art. This fall I will be entering one of my pieces to be juried and judged by the best of the best.
I have chosen the theme for my entry and I want to share with you my journey over the next few months. This years entry will consist of two art pieces incorporated into a single entry. This year I will enter a pipe and a flute with a common theme running through the whole piece. Below is a drawing I have made for the pipe that I will start today. The flute will also be started this weekend and this will be one of the toughest projects I will undertake.
Each art piece will have a custom-made bison leather case that will in their own right be beautiful components of the whole project. This Art project is available for purchase. Delivery will not be available until after the Western Design Conference has completed in early September. If you have interest in this project for your home or business reach out to me at “email@example.com”. Follow me on this journey and see how it goes…
Although I have used my spare time for many years to build and create what I call Plains Influenced Art there just never seems to be enough time to accomplish all that I create in my head. Many who know me know that my primary career is that of an International Health Insurance Broker. It is in the down time from this career that I have endeavored to create my Art over the years.
Several times during the past years I have found myself engulfed in supplying others with the parts to make Native American Styled Flutes and other specialty lumbers. I love doing this and I love helping others but I do find myself short of time to do what it is I really want to do and that is to do my own art. That art now consists of crafting Flutes, Jewelry, Native Pipes and one of my first loves Photography.
Couple all this with having a family and three wonderful children I now find that I have NO time for myself. I want to re-focus my extra time to my art. JacksonHoleTim.com will now become the primary place where I will showcase my art. Hopefully I now will find time to finish so many of the projects that I want to craft and new ideas can percolate and come to fruition. I will continue to support the flute making world as best I can so please feel free to call upon me with any questions and should you need supplies check out what I have to offer on JacksonHoleTim.com.
The commissioned art pieces that I have worked on or I am currently working on give me the freedom to take some of my ideas and bring them to life for those who really like my work. There is nothing more satisfying than working with a customers vision and being able to hit the mark. Hopefully JacksonHoleTim.com will be the place where I can share with all of you what I have accomplished and a place to showcase the new. Please come back and visit as share with me some of the art I hope to bring to life for others.
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…