2017  Sheilagh Mercer

Love what you do.....Do what you Love

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Sacred Drum Creation

LIFE IS … Spirit Reflections

 

As a Spirit Reflective, multimedia Artist, I love working with my hands and creating something, so much, that I would get bored with only a few materials, subject choices and only one form of expression. Another reason is I love inspiring others to bring out what is, already in them.

That, being said I like to write about the drums my husband (Doug) and I make and what is involved with a drum making work shop. Without my husband Doug, this simply would not happen.

So for the first time I get to share here, some behind the scenes information, and the loving care and enjoyment we have in the making of the sacred Drums. The wood we use to make the drum form is white cedar. Doug and I, designed this hand-held drum together. 

The hand held drum or flat drum can be seen in many cultures as a sacred tool for ceremony and to connect community.

Drumming opens the heart, resonating with the Heartbeat of our beloved Mother Earth.

I knew in some way back in 2003 I was meant to make drums. As we were going into a soul guided life more and more, where the heart chakra was evolving in humanity in this life time.

The Drum, resonates with our own heart and the Heart Beat of Mother Earth. So with my Husbands help, we began making drums and having the Drum Making Workshops. We started with white cedar because Doug and his Dad had been making outside furniture with this wood.   Then we learned about this purifying wood being a great choice for many reasons being: the choice of many musical instruments, it carved well and the low resin made it a great wood for wood burning, plus it has a beautiful grain.

Doug purchases the wood straight, from a saw mill, and he mills the wood to size. After cutting the number of blocks and size he needs, he makes precision cuts to each one, making eight blocks fit flatly at each joint. They now formed a circle with the grain running around the drum for added strength. The blocks are glued, laminating them tightly together.

Once the glue is well dried, the inside and outsides are made round by sawing away the excess wood, and not an easy feat, in fact I do not know how he does it. Then Doug shapes them by a spindle sander and also by hand, as the drum form is slimed down further. The final rough sanding completed he will then drill holes around the bottom of the drum for chords that will tie down the rawhide face.

I like a certain style Doug makes, it has an indentation at the bottom where 24 holes are drilled. It makes this drum more expensive yet I love the look. He then rough sands the wood further and this is where his Job is done and mine begins. I start by fine sanding for hours. I just know by the feel, when I am satisfied they can then be varnished. Using a water based vary-thane and sanding between each coat and there again, I can easily tell from having three coats or four, because of this satin feeling I look for.

Drumming opens the heart, resonating with the Heartbeat of our beloved Mother Earth.

Before I assemble a drum I may decide to have Artwork on the Wooden sides and will draw these on with pencil and then wood burn these images into the wooden form before it is ever varnished. The raw hide I use for the face is usually farmed Red Deer. I cut out the drum head slightly bigger than the wooden form and put enough holes that lineup to the holes on the drum. I soak the skins generally just over night, yet it also depends how thick or thin they are. Super thin skins would be soaked allot less than a thick hide. I remember when I first started to make drums, I forgot to put them in the water the night before so I put really hot water over them and when I went to pull them out they literally fell apart. I use a really tough cord to tie down the wet hide using the holes on the drum for leverage as the hide is stretched being careful not to have the cord rip through the hole in the hide. I have Doug make me a deeper drum at times so I can go wild on the wooden sides, wood burning images of all sorts. Having a 12″ wide x5″ deep drum form gives more room for art work in the wooden form.

However the odd 16” wide by 6” deep is a treat for me to do and difficult to part with. When I give a Drum Making Workshop where the people are not interested in having any artwork on them, the drum of choice is a 12″ x 3″ deep where I make up kits to include everything needed to make a drum, that day. A few beads and store bought feathers to add some decor, explaining how they may come across a feather from time to time, lay down some tobacco thanking the bird that gifted that feather to you. I do collect feathers myself and use them in my art, however do not sell my winged ones, feathers, who gifted them to me. Also the beads or stones can be replaced as others find more meaningful ones on their journeys.   Each drum kit are the strings and all the lacing, chords, beads and feathers needed to complete a sacred drum.

The drum form is water resistant from the vary-thane finish and the waxed chords. This helps slow down the moisture that the rawhide takes on in the moist night air, so the hide lasts longer before having it warmed up near a fire. This is also the reason I encourage the tight fit and higher ringing sound because they will keep their great sound longer into the night. Some people rather have the lower sound when drumming in doors so to Lower their sound I mist them, with a light spraying of water.

One of the Drum Making workshops I present is called an “All my relations Drum”. This begins by placing the name of a person, place or thing to the back sides of each segment in the drum form. Each segment has three holes that are designated, PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE and this is for each name that person chose to place on each of the sections only inside the drums and placed on the wood. Ask each person to consider having a note pad so throughout the making of their drum to be aware of noises birds and whatever might bring their attention to an area of the drum then to look inside and see what name is there. There is a ceremony we do along with this. I once had someone almost break through a hole with their string. When, they looked at the name inside they began to cry because they nearly cut ties with this loved one and chose not to. I have been trained in many modalities and so I know I simply present something, all that is important is that the person be willing, the rest takes care of itself. As a Spirit Reflective Artist, I give sessions, to help others find their Totem, Spirit Animal, or guides and sometimes love ones show up. I get visuals from them when they talk with me and can see them singing, playing an instrument or drawing and painting. They can be in the closet hiding their art. I encourage them or inspire them in some way hopefully this is a help to bring this to the forefront. All is through permission that is most important.

 

Art beautified the world and expands love. I hold love in my heart because I know this works.

Namasté