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2018 Western Design Conference Entry

AUTHENTIC WYOMING!

Many years ago I embarked on a journey to jury for a show that has been long recognized as the Premier Art Show for Western FUNCTIONAL Art!  The Western Design Conference brings emphasis on the WESTERN and FUNCTIONAL side of art.  Held each Fall in Jackson Hole Wyoming the WDC is a kick off to the Fall Arts Festival also held each year in the town of Jackson.  Some of the finest artisans and craftsman travel from all corners of the United States to show off their best functional art.

In the past I have been honored with not only first place awards within my art category but I have also been honored with the coveted Sunny Tutle Award which is an award that represents an authentic Native/Western theme.  Art collectors, enthusiasts, designers, and every day people come from all over to experience this show looking for something special.  Each year I can attest to the amazing quality of the art presented.

For several years I have entered this show each time with an art piece that was influenced by our history here in Wyoming.  I have presented many different flute designs as each one of my entries is a fully functional flute ready to play at any time.  These past entries had a very strong Native American influence consistent with our First Nations People’s history.  For me these influences came mostly from the Plains history of which Wyoming is part of and each time I tried to present an authentic representation of what we now know as the Native American flute.

This years entry was a hard one for me as I thought initially I would step outside my flute building craft and maybe try something new.  But after weeks of agonizing thought I decided to create a piece consistent with what I have become known for and yet still step outside the box I have been so accustom to being part of… which is to say keeping it old school.

This years entry is the first flute that I have painted and then lacquered to a high gloss.   This years art piece represents a marriage of the old and the new.  My goal was to seek and find Simple Elegance all the while bringing honor to this great two chambered wind instrument.  The contemporary side of this piece represents all that is new with both the journey the Native American Styled flute has traveled, the history of it’s origins and what is new in American life on our reservations.  I hope it brings a smile to your face!

The Flute

Crafted from a single piece of Old Growth Alaskan Yellow Cedar this 1 inch bore flute is tuned to the key of E @ 432Hz.  Painted black on both the inside and outside this flute was finally finished with 30+ coats of hand applied high gloss lacquer.  The Totem rails and the totem are hand crafted from an piece of Old Growth Maple harvested in Colorado.  The totem or fetish theme is the powerful Mustang.

Set into the body of the flute is a hand cut cabochon of Elk Antler harvested right here in Wyoming.  The elk antler is bezel set in Sterling Silver and then inlaid into the flute body.  All leather accents are from hand cut Elk hides and the beading is both black and red Crow Glass Beads separated by sterling silver beads.

The stand is hand crafted from American Black Walnut and  also painted in the same way as the flute body.  The only difference is that the stand has a semi-gloss finish.  The red cloth you see is a traditional red trade cloth color.  Both flute and stand are available for purchase at the show and beyond.  If you are interested in this one of a kind Jackson Hole Tim original reach out to me through email or phone.  This piece is also available for commission and you can set the color theme.

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Native American Flutes & Stroke Victims

Many Years ago I received a call from a gentleman who had seen one of my flutes offered Online for Sale.  This gentleman had been looking at a new flute I had recently completed.  What was interesting about this flute was it was one of the first flutes I had made where I tuned it using the 432Hz frequency.  My son who is an accomplished musician had made the suggestion that tuning a flute at 432Hz might be interesting to craft and see if people could tell the difference.  That is for another post but we found plenty of evidence that people in many cases without knowing will choose a flute tuned to 432 Hz verses the standard 440Hz without knowing the specifics.

First Chakra Flute D# @ 432 Hz

In addition my wife who is a fairly spiritual being had asked that I add a series of cabochons to this flute.  She had selected seven stones from a recent stone buying trip and the colors of these represented the colors of the Human Chakra.  Being a flute builder I am always looking for new ideas to introduce with my flutes so I thought why not.  This particular flute was crafted from an old piece of Black Walnut that has been harvested on the Eastern Slopes of the Rocky Mountains near Boulder Colorado.  What is cool about many of these old beasts is that these giant walnut trees were planted over 160 years ago by settlers making their way west on what today is known as the Oregon Trail.  People brought these trees in small pots to plant near their farm houses and such for the shade they produced as well as their fruit they bare.

So I built this flute, added the cabochons and tuned it to a D# as it was a 1 inch bored flute and we called it our first Chakra Flute.  Truthfully I had no idea how this flute would be received but it turned out really nice, and actually it was fairly simple in design.  It played really well, sounded good and for the most part looked the part.

Back to this gentleman I mentioned earlier.  I honestly do not remember his name, only the story behind this post.  We spoke over the phone many times as I remember and I was pretty sure he had settled on this flute for himself.  He was an older gentleman… that is to say is was in his early 60’s.  He had recently discovered the Native American Style Flute and something grabbed him and he told me that he was hooked.  This was to be his first flute purchase and I was honored to be his first flute builder.  Then all of a sudden I stopped hearing from him.

This Story Comes To Life Recently

Now this first part of the story happened more than 6 or so years ago.  To be truthful I had forgotten about this story for some time which is weird in that it really is a story that needs to be told.  So about two weeks ago we had a visit from one of our dear friends who was our neighbor in Jackson Hole for several years and she had relocated to Boise Idaho a few years ago.  Her son was on a trip back east and the people he was traveling in was from Star Valley Wyoming so when she came to pick him up she spent an evening with us reminiscing.  Somewhere in the evening she began talking about all of the flutes I had on my walls throughout my home.  She now works in the area of neuroscience and somehow we landed on this story about this Chakra flute.

A Stroke of Bad Luck!

One of the things we had been chatting about is how so many people come to the flute for so many different reasons and that there are so many stories out there about inner healing that the music somehow brings to so many people.  I had been telling her about some really interesting stories about a woman named Mary who I have built many flute for and how she uses the Native flute to bring healing to those who are struggling in many facets of their lives.  After sharing this story with Carol she encouraged me to share it with others as there may be a blessing in disguise in my discoveries.

Somewhere during the conversation I remembered the story about this Chakra flute and I began the share it with her.  As I mentioned above I thought this gentleman whom had contacted me some time ago about this particular flute was going to purchase it but yet disappeared.  So back to this story… after several weeks had gone by I received a call from this guys wife and she wanted to know if this Chakra flute was still available and I said yes it was.  She shared with me who she was and that her husband whom I had been talking with had recently had a stroke in the past couple of weeks.  I was mortified… I truthfully did not know what to say to her.

She wanted to try to bring some joy to his day and she knew how much he liked this flute so she decided to purchase it for him as a gift.  She told me she was a bit concerned about giving it to him as she did not know if he could even hold it yet alone play it.  Again I had no words other than to be as encouraging as I could.  She paid for it and I shipped it the next day.   I hoped that in some small way it would bring some joy to this man not knowing the impact it would have… in the short-term anyway.

Weeks went by and life was back to normal for me as I had not heard a word from her about the flute.  I assumed it was received ok and I know that FEDEX did their part to deliver it in a timely manner.  Then one day several weeks later I received a call from his wife again.  She shared with me that she delivered the flute to him and that when she did his eyes lit up and his face was adorned with a big smile.  Over several days he apparently played with the flute for hours each day.  He even began to play the flute and produced some fairly pleasant music I am told.  In fact there were times when hospital staff and other patients lined his doorway as he played away.

The Miracle of the Flute

This is the part that brings such joy to my heart in that I created and voiced this flute without knowing the journey it would take.  This man’s wife shared with me that one of the huge challenges for her husband was the loss of his dexterity in his one hand that the stroke clobbered.  She told me that each and every day he was gaining back dexterity in his hand and fingers as he continued to play the flute.  In fact I was told that he was looking forward to giving concerts to those who would listen.  Somehow this flute found its way to a man truly in need and by its very nature it helped this man with the healing process.  Something I would have never thought of had I not heard the story.

More time went by and I believe I heard from her one more time about the progress he had been making.  He was about to go home and she thanked me for this musical gift.  I was humbled yet pleased that in some small way I was able to take part in this journey.  I never heard from her or him again so I truthfully have no idea how this all ended up for their family.  I can only hope and pray that in the end this Chakra Flute crafted from a piece of old growth Black Walnut brought some peace and healing to him and their family.

Another Phone Call Brings Me to My Keyboard

As I mentioned in the beginning of this post I have been encouraged by Carol to share this story with all of you.  For various reasons I delayed sitting down and telling the story that needed to be told.  No real good reason as to why but it has been on my mind daily since Carol shared her excitement about this journey.  Segue to recent events in my life…

Over the past weeks I have been dealing with the end of life tribulation of an elderly father.  So I have had plenty of excuses although none of them too compelling.  Recently I received another phone call from an older gentleman that reached out to me as he was seeking a supply of Alaskan Yellow Cedar for his relief carvings.  He shared with me over several phone calls that he is a relief carver and his carving are Native American influenced.  I have never seen his work but I could feel his passion in our conversations for his art.  He knew that I made Native American Style flutes many out of Old Growth Alaskan Yellow Cedar.  He had recently read a post of my about a flute I had made for Tony Duncan, Native American Flute Artist and saw that it was crafted from Alaskan Cedar so he called me.

Over several weeks he attempted to purchase from me a supply of cedar and because of my responsibilities to my father I just kept dropping the ball.  We exchanged phone calls over several weeks and actually enjoyed each others conversation until finally there was a pause caused by me and as I  got things calmed down enough to reach out to him again I was only able to reach his voicemail.  Several days after my last message a week or so ago I get a call from his phone number by now which I recognized.  Only it was his wife not Bob.

She shared with me that she had received my phone calls and proceeded to apologize for any delays in getting back to me.  I assured her I was the one slacking not her.  She then told me that Bob had had a stroke the week before.  She was not sure about his prognosis but out of love for her husband wanted to make sure the Cedar was purchased and waiting for him hoping that his recovery would allow him to once again pick up his carving tools and maybe… just maybe the carving would be good for his recovery.

Immediately I told her about this post I have been needing to write about another customer of mine that had a stroke prior to purchasing a flute from me.  I shared with her the story I am writing now and just the fact that the results were on the positive side of things for this man she told me that indeed this story brings hope to her in that maybe in much of the same way the carving of the wood could help her husband with his recovery and the use of his disable hand.

The story of this Chakra flute has now given hope and healing to two people directly, one because of its physical being and the second through the story of the flute itself.  Maybe… just maybe there is a place for the Native American Style flute for those victims who have suffered strokes.  I can only hope that there is and if so I want to be part of the solution.  Peace to all who read this…

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Walnut Drone Flute Key of D 444Hz

Black Walnut Drone flute enters finishing stage.  This flute has gone through a long journey and it should be completed in the coming week or so.  This Drone flute features 1″ inch bores and had been tuned to D @444Hz per request of a previous interested party.  This flute will be included in our farm gallery inventory when complete.

The fetish has been hand carved from a single piece of Black Walnut and features an arrowhead theme.  Leather for the fetish will be hand cut bison lace – probably in a dark brown color.  There are no additional accents at this time on this flute other than the hand carving seen here on the top of the flute.  The bottom of the drone is smooth across the entire bottom.  There is a subtle elevation separation at the mouth piece that should help ones ability to play one side or the other or both.

This flute is to be finished with a high gloss lacquer that should really make it pop.  The walnut coloring is pretty much a traditional walnut look and feel and although a drone it is fairly comfortable in your hands.  A recording should be available shortly of how this drone sounds and plays.  The entire construction of this flute was done by me by hand.

Available for purchase:

  1. This flute is available for purchase at this time.   Current plans are for a high gloss lacquer finish. There is still time to add any additional accents, select the finish for this flute, add feather or horse hair accents, add stones for a higher price point  PRE-COMPLETION PRICE: $895 PLUS $16.95 Shipping (lower 48 states).  NO additional accents.  To add additional accents please contact me for pricing.  DEPOSIT REQUIRED for changes.

Call to purchase this Black Walnut Drone flute (307) 690-0427 or email me.  This flute is Available for Custom Order – email “sales@jacksonholetim.com”

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Carving Some Mustang Fetishes

After completing several of these Mustang fetish/totems I have decided to craft in advance several of these new Mustang Fetishes for those of you who may want a new totem for an existing flute.  These will be fully completed fetishes.  Designed to work with a Native American Style Flute that has the focusing channel crafted or cut into the body of the flute.  Is is best suited for a larger bore flute of 7/8″ or better as this totem is a bit on the larger size.  The image in above was an 7/8″ Bore flute made for a customer in Cave Creek Arizona.  People seem to really like this totem so I thought I would build 3 or 4 on spec.

This totem/fetish will feature a chimney and the standard width is 3/8″ with a depth of around 7mm.  If you have a larger bore flute that has a larger windway area please contact me so we can match them up.  For example – a 1″ bore flute although typically will have a 3/8″ wide windway are it can be as wide as 1/2″ and still be correct.  The chimney needs to match your flutes windway as close as possible so it plays correctly.

The first three will be crafted from an old growth block of Maple.  The image that sits on the Port Orford Cedar flute above was crafted from this same block of wood.   Each of the totems I will carve will not be finished until I know who will purchase one.  Some like their flutes and totems to be oiled and other like a lacquered so the call will be yours.  Any fetish purchased will be shipped with a generous amount of 3/8″ Bison leather so you can attach it immediately to your chosen flute.

This is a fairly labor intensive totem so if you have any interest in purchasing one of these Mustang Fetishes please reach out to me by phone or email.  This fetish can also be crafted in other wood species if you are looking for another color pattern.  Price point will be determined on finish and species of wood selected.  If these are available when finished I will price them accordingly at that time.  Call or text me at (307) 690-0427 or email me at Sales@Jacksonholetim.com.

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Sassafras Flute Returns for Re-Work

This is a post for a flute I just finished re-working and sent back to a client.  It came to me as a C# and we changed it to a D @432Hz.  This is a flute I made several years ago for a client in Idaho and when it came back to me I immediately saw some things I wanted to change.  The eagle fetish now placed on the flute was one she purchase from me a year ago for another flute and she wanted to use it on this flute along with the feather fetish originally created as you can see in the photo below.  We did not put a finish on the flute originally by request nor did we this time after reshaping.

If you look closely at the original photo below you will see that this flute was a bit on the big side and with a 1″ bore a C# is really not the best key for it.  So I re-tuned it to a D @432Hz.  This flute sounds a lot better and plays really nice.  I had to make some adjustments to the eagle fetish chimney so it would not interfere with the flow of air.  The image above is the same flute after re-working it.  Much more slender, hand carved signature step in front of the windway and a much tighter mouthpiece.  I did not change anything in the length of the flute nor did I adjust the playing holes.  All tuning was done using an undercutting technique.  I only hope she is pleased with the end result.

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Black Walnut Flute with Sapodilla Rail F# 432 Hz

Just completed this flute is one that has been shared in our Under Construction Page.  This six hole Native American Style flute is handcrafted from a piece of very old Black Walnut harvested from the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.  Not a matched set of blanks but cut from the same board.  This flute features a 7/8″ bore tuned to the key of F# @432Hz and Sapodilla rails which nests the fetish which is our Teton Spike.  The Spike is crafted from a piece of Bubinga which is seldom used in our shop and it will be attached with a matrix of our Handcut Wyoming Tan Bison Leather.  Flute body features our signature hand cut step.  Another very nice flute.   Available for $325.00 plus shipping.  CLICK HERE for full details on this flute.

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Port Orford Cedar Commission Ships Out…

Recently I was blessed with another commission for a gentleman who lives in the South along the Gulf Coast.  After several email exchanges and a few phone calls I agreed to make the flute you see here.  This order was for a flute that was basically complete and playable leaving the final finishing work for the customer.  This flute was handcrafted from Old Growth Port Orford Cedar and it was crafted with a 7/8″ Bore.  I tuned it to F# @432 Hz.  Because of the extreme difference between my altitude here in Wyoming and his along the gulf I did my best to set the tuning to the flat side of the note.  The image you see here has NO finish on either the flute or the walnut spike totem.  Just the natural colors of both.

As we all know wood is ever-changing with its environment.  Some say it is a living being.  The fact is we are at 6200 feet and he at around 250.  Temperature and humidity are vastly different too.  But the flute is leaving in tune with itself and I am sure he will be very pleased with how it plays.  The fetish or totem was originally planned to be my whimsical Otter Design but after building the flute it was clear the totem needed to be one that had a chimney.  Every one of my Windways are hand cut and no matter how many I do I never really know how it will be until after glue up.   As with all the flutes I make we will ship this with a protective bag.

If you would like to commission a flute like this simply reach out.  I would love to build one just for you.

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James Johnson Tlingit Native American Artist to Collaborate on Two New Flutes…

Earlier this summer I was invited by a very good friend of mine to come to see a showing of a very talented Tlingit (pronounced “cling-git”) Native American artist here in Jackson Hole Wyoming.  The gallery where his art was to be shown was at ASYMBOL Gallery based here in Jackson.  I was excited to see his work because of the style of art James does and truthfully James is one of the last of his people painting in their traditional ways.  ASYMBOL is owned by Travis Rice, world famous extreme snowboarder and producer of many fine things.  The passion Travis shares for art and those who create imagery for all to enjoy comes through with their support for James.

So my wife and I went with great anticipation and really not knowing much about his style of art, which is really the telling of stories.  James was born and raised in Juneau, Alaska and he belongs to the Ch’aak Dakl’aweodi Clan (Eagle/Killerwhale).  It was his late father from the Raven/Shark Clan that first encouraged him to pursue Tlingit carving and learn the traditional Tlingit formline.

James is named after his Grandfather, Chief Peter Johnson of Angoon and his Great Grandfather Jimmy Johnson of Angoon.  James says his art honors his Tlingit heritage.  From the very first moment I met James I just simply loved this guy as well as his artwork.  Not only is it different from the Plains Indian influenced art that has been my passion I truly believe that his art comes in the form of simple elegance.  The lines, the colors, the medium all come together to tell his stories.

James’s art is represented by several entities such as N-Grained, alongside Mark Landvik, ASYMBOL by Travis Rice and he is also an artist for Zohi Gallery in Santa Fe New Mexico.  Zohi Gallery is 100% Native Owned and Operated representing 30 of the top native artists in the country.  In addition James is supported by Sealaska Heritage Foundation in Juneau.  Sealaska supports the top Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian Artists from Alaska working to preserve each tribe’s heritage and culture thru their respective art.

James takes very seriously the honor that has been bestowed upon him to carry on the traditions and cultures of his people.  Although James tells me there is no word for “Art” in the Tlingit language you will beg to differ when you see his work.  Traditional Tlingit formline is the foundation for James’s artwork and “Art Form” that was developed thousands of years ago by his ancestors.  James’s current work is a healthy mix of both traditional and contemporary Tlingit styles of his own.

Recently I had the opportunity to share with James some lumber that I wanted to give to him.  One of the species I work in almost daily was a piece of true old growth Alaskan Yellow Cedar.  My favorite second is the amazing Port Orford Cedar and both make the most beautiful flute instruments.  I provided James with one Alaskan Yellow Cedar and one Port Orford Cedar Board and within weeks he created two amazing works of art.  The Dancing Eagle paddle shown here to the right was one of but two amazing works by James.

Actual Alaskan Yellow Cedar Flute Blank – One of Two to be Crafted by Tim and James

After meeting James and seeing how he turned a solid single board into this beautifully crafted paddle I knew I had to try to see if we could work together.  So as I often do I reached out to James and asked him if he would have an interest in bringing some of his Tlingit Formlines to some of my flutes.  James responded right away and the short version is we are going to craft two flutes that will be available for purchase soon.  These two flutes will more than likely be the ONLY two of their kind when done.  Both of these flutes are being crafted from old growth Alaskan Yellow Cedar  and the image above is one of the flute bodies that will be the blank canvas for James to work his magic.

The above image is of one of the actual flute bodies we are crafting.  We are just about to tune these flutes and once this is complete they will be shipped to James for him to create his Formline Art.  In addition to his artwork James will also be carving the totem for each of these two flutes.  Both flutes are 1″ inch bored flutes and will be probably in the low E range.  Depending on the final product we will craft flute bags crafted from either Elk or Bison hides.  We will be posting additional picture as we make progress.

For those of you who collect flutes this might be the time for you to extend yourselves and gain ownership in true works of art.  This is functional art at its very best and I am excited to work with James on my very first Plains Indian Influenced flute and true traditional Tlingit Form Art.  If you are interested in finding out more about these two in production flutes send us an email to “timjen333@gmail.com”.  There is no price point established as of this post but these will be gallery quality works of art.  It has not yet been decided where these flutes will be available to be seen but more on that later.

I am excited to be working with James on this new project and I have high expectations to the finished product…

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A New Chapter In Flute Building Begins…

All things change and yet nothing remains the same… for the most part anyway.  For the past 15 years I have been on a roller coaster journey with my career with so many changes to our industry and none of it has been within my control.  For more than 32 years my primary occupation has been that of a full time International Health Insurance Broker and I still actively work at this daily.  The last 15 years of my career I have also worked as a commissioned artist in my spare time working mostly in the medium of wooden Native American Style Flutes.  In addition I also work in the medium of stone crafting mostly pipes.  Catlinite (pipestone) is a wonderful medium to work in and it provides a powerful source of energy for me.

Over the past several years I have had the pleasure to craft some really wonderful projects for many different clients.  Some flutes and some pipes and some projects that combined both the flute and the pipestone into a single project.  For many of these years I have been a primary source for flute builders both new to the flute and professionals alike and I have supplied thousands of flute blanks both pre-bored and simple stock ready to bore.   I have even provided much needed knowledge to those who seek it.  There have been times over the past several years where my day job and my passion for the Native American Flute simply create a conflict.  Each demands your time and attention.

As I approach my 58th birthday this December I reflect on that which has actually brought me peace and joy over my lifetime.  For sure my family sits on top of this list.  My career of 32 years as a broker also sits on that list.  But building Native American styled flutes of all types has and is definitely a highlight and sharing the real healing power of the flute is a big part of it.  As we all grow through our lives and reflect on what it is we do on a daily basis I think we all must come to a place where the passion for what you have been doing starts to disappear.  For me this is true and I have reached this place and now I hope and want to focus more on the things that bring me satisfaction with my daily endeavors.

Our family recently made the decision to move a little south of Jackson Hole to the Star Valley part of Wyoming.  For many reasons but in short we wanted more land for our horses, more room for my shop and we want to be a little more accessible to those who may be visiting our region in the coming years.  In the next few weeks we will be moving to our new home and it is here in Star Valley where I plan to focus further on my craft.  This past summer we had a very small shop that allowed some people to visit but the need to grow and expand made it clear we needed to find another place to call home.  Within the next few months I plan to open a new shop that will be located on our property that will include a very nice showroom.  One goal is to have probably the largest selection of Native American Style flutes along with parts and supplies within the state of Wyoming.  You will be able to come visit, shop and take home your new found treasure.  In addition our shop will feature some of my photography centered on the Yellowstone Basin and everything on the walls will be available for sale.

For those of you who have followed me through the years you know I have attempted this more than once.  The desire to share my art with others has never been more present than it is now.  After speaking with several of the galleries in the Jackson area and talking to other artists it eventually became clear that the path for me had to my own showroom/shop.  So with this in mind please subscribe to our blog and follow me as we set these new goals and open our doors starting this winter.  I have had several people ask if our showroom will be open for the 2018 summer and the answer is YES it will.  If you have plans to travel to Jackson Hole, Yellowstone or any part of this are we will be easy to find and worth the trip to our shop.  If you will travel from the Salt Lake City basin then you will drive right past our place.  Watch for future post and hopefully many new creations will be ready for the new season soon to kick off.

 

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A Story About Mary

 

MaryBlakeley_1_smA couple of years ago I was commissioned to build a very special flute.   I have made a post about this before but I wanted to update this article as there has been some very nice things take place this past summer directly related to this post.  I completed the construction of a very nice flute for one of my favorite customers, Mary Blakeley, who lives in Idaho. This is one of the first flutes where I crafted the entire flute and fetish but did not put a finish on the flute prior to shipping.

Mary wanted to complete this process for her flute on her own and I was excited to see what she has in mind. This flute was crafted from a very interesting piece of Sassafras.  Sassafras is very nice wood to work with and I like the tonal qualities of this wood.  Generally Sassafras is kind of non descriptive wood and it does not have the flash that other domestic species can have.

This board was unusual because the grain patterns were very nice. The problem was – the board was twisted and bent and wow – I was not sure I would be able to make it work.  After consulting with Mary she made the decision that this piece was the one for her so I agreed to go ahead and see what I could do.

EternalComfort_4_smBecause I liked the grain patterns so well I cut the best sections out of the board and spent two weeks trying various tricks to help straighten the blanks out.  After a couple of weeks and several different methods I realized that I was going to have to simply do my best during the glue up phase and make sure I had enough clamps on the blanks and a good solid coat of glue to boot.

EternalComfort_6_smPrior to glue up there were two things I needed to do.  First Mary requested I write into the inside of the flute the name “GOD” in Paleo Hebrew which I did.  I then sealed the name into the flute body and it is now part of this flute forever.  Second, I scored the entire gluing surfaces by hand with a sharp blade to give us some extra bite for the glue.  Prior to the glue up I inlaid a small piece of ironwood into the top of the flute. This inlay became the cutting edge on this flute and the contrast came out perfect.  Then I clamped it up and as you can see we made sure we had enough on the blanks. We left the blanks in the clamps overnight to make sure we gave it ample drying time and later the next day we removed the clamps and the results could not have been better.

“Amazing but that is what God does with music. Most believers want to have their emotions manipulated with music but they don’t realize that to God, music is communication. He communicates to us through the music of creation, twinkling stars, rushing water, winds that whisper and winds that roars through the trees, crashing waves and babies cries. The native flute is so special because when we give it our breath, it give us it’s song and each one has a song all its own. Through it we can release the deep sounds of our being.”

Mary Blakeley

We wanted to shoot for a lower C# which made this a very long flute, almost 30 inches in length. We used the four winds tuning holes and spent hours tuning the flute the best I could.  A C# is just about at the outside abilities for a 1 inch bored flute.  I was able to achieve the fundamental note and like all of our flutes I voiced it for the first time right here in Jackson Hole Wyoming, home of the Teton Mountain  range.

EternalComfort_13_lgThe fetish was one of my custom made whimsical feather designs that was crafted from a single piece old growth walnut with a band of sapwood in it.  The base of the fetish is the sapwood and the feather is the black walnut color.  A chimney was created to help with prevention of the #6 hole from jumping to easily and the results were pleasing.

After many hours of frustration and several challenges that we were faced with this flute ended up being one my favorites that I have worked on in quite some time.  Nothing came easy on this flute and there were several times where I thought it was going to end up in my fireplace.  But with Mary’s constant coaxing and support this flute came out just beautiful.  We shipped this flute to her some time ago and I awaited pictures from her once she had completed her finishing project.  All in all a very nice project.

After Mary had received her flute she finished it herself with her favorite wood oil and beeswax  The picture to the left is the finished flute at her home in Idaho.  Mary did a real nice job on completing the project and now she is busy bringing the life of this flute to others where she if helping people heal from problems they face.  Recently Mary sent an email to me about one of her first experiences playing the flute she now calls “Eternal Comfort”.  In her message to me she was sharing an experience where she was playing this flute over a sick woman trying to bring comfort to her.  Within minutes this lady had fallen to sleep.  Above is a block quote from her email to me that is one of the best descriptions of how sound and music communicates to us.  This is a project where I have received more from Mary then Mary has from me.  This is a very special woman with a desire to only help others – we need more like her…

UPDATE:  Recently I received a package in the mail from Mary.  It was long like a flute but I thought how could this be.  I had recently crafted a new flute for her at her request out of a piece of Black Willow I had been saving.  Mary had a vision that her next flute was to be an eagle flute and so this is what we came up with.  Again this new flute was to be shipped with no finish on the wood as she would take care of this herself.  Could this package I just received be this flute I had shipped to her earlier in the year?  So I eagerly opened the package and to my surprise it was a flute but to my great relief it was not the flute below.  After looking at it carefully I suddenly realized that is was the very flute this article was written about.  Mary was returning it to me as a gift – one that I had never received before in all the flutes I have made for people.  Mary wanted me to have this flute and to do something new and exciting with it.  To be truthful I am not sure what exactly that is but I have this flute in front of me and I see it every day.  I think of Mary most days and I think of all the flutes we have shared over the past few years.  Mary has a gift, a gift of love and sharing the word of God.  A very spiritual women she is and I thank God everyday for our chance meeting many years ago.