- Handmade frames of Alaskan Yellow Cedar.
- Elk or Buffalo rawhide (processed by artist).
- Custom sizes available.
- Shipped UPS, USPS, or FedEx, unless otherwise stated by you.
- Drumsticks available for sale (see below).
I make my drums in a traditional manner. I use Alaskan Yellow Cedar and sometimes Port Orford Cedar for the frames. The wood pieces are hand-cut and glued together. There are no metal fasteners used. The glue is a high-quality waterproof glue. The frames are then sanded smooth. The drum heads are either buffalo or elk rawhide. Each fall, I collect fresh raw hides from hunters and ranchers (in the case of some buffalo), and then I process the hides using cold water and sometimes wood ash from the wood stove. When the hair slips, I scrape off the hair and flesh to make rawhide. I then lace the hide to a frame to dry.
Making the drums
Four directions pattern
I first select a piece of rawhide suitable for a drum, with no holes or thin spots. I cut the pattern for the drum from the hide. I then soak the hide for at least 24 hours. I also cut and trim the lacing. I lace up the head using a "four directions" pattern (see photo). After lacing, I let the drum dry for another 24 hours.
- Each design is drawn by hand, directly on the drum, making each drum unique.
- The original designs are drawn in permanent light-fast acrylic-based inks.
- There are an additional 25 designs not pictured here. If you don't see what you want, email me.
- Custom designs are available and require a 25% non-refundable deposit.
- Buffalo rawhide tends to be darker and thicker than elk. The best pieces are chosen to bring out the qualities of the design. Elk is the recommended choice for painted drums.
- Allow 3 weeks for delivery.
There is an old story about an ancient flood that forced the first wolves to separate in order to find higher ground. After much howling, the wolves were reunited as well as making the first contact with humans. I have shown Wolf searching for his kin. Wolves were known for their strength, agility, courage, and ability to communicate. In traditional stories, there is a link between Wolf and Orca that suggests transformation, not only physically, but spiritually as well. Traditional renditions of Wolf usually include a long snout, long ears, sharp teeth, and some form of a curved tail. This design is available only on a 16" diameter drum. Size is 16" x 3" elk or buffalo. Hand painted.
I was asked to create an image that symbolized the marriage of two people deeply in love. I chose the orca, as it is strong and free, yet needs its own kind to feel whole. Together, the whales form a sacred circle of unity and trust. Within each whale are two ravens. Ravens are the tricksters, the strong mysterious power that is so prevalent in Northwest Coast tribal legends. They are survivors. These ravens are swallowing the orcas while all are simultaneously giving one another strength and knowledge. It is this symbiotic relationship that completes the circle, giving the marriage a life of its own.
Goose in the Moon
Light from the full moon has always played tricks with me visually, by making things appear to be what they are not. I once camped near a large lake with the full moon rising. Geese that were on the water were disturbed and flew across the face of moon. I commemorated the moment by depicting a stylized goose and moon. The goose is intertwined with the moon so as to appear to be swallowed by it. The moon is represented by the blue crescent and by the non-traditional human profile attempting swallow the goose.
As in many indigenous cultures, the Eagle maintains a prominent place in mythology as well as daily life. Eagles are known for their hunting and fishing prowess. They are considered intelligent, and powerful, as well as possessing vision and strength. I have depicted Eagle as the face of the Sun. Sun who gives life to all and is very powerful. The Sun Eagle has a penetrating vision into the future as well as into the soul.
Old Man of the Sea
Sea turtles are not a traditional Northwest Coastal crest or icon. However, contemporary Northwest Coastal artists have rendered images of sea turtles to honor their ability to swim long distances and promote awareness of their endangered status. I have chosen the sea turtle to represent the earth we live on. Its shell is in the style of an old mask, which represents both humans living on the "shell" of the earth's surface and the wisdom the old turtle has accumulated over the years. The "Old Man" is depicted swimming, not just through the sea, but also through time, reminding us that nature is endless and will be here long after we are gone.
I once lived by a large remote river. During salmon season, the eagles were hard at work harvesting their share. For the fish, it was a race against time in order to flourish. I wanted to commemorate this eternal struggle to survive for both fish and bird. Although Eagle is in the dominant position, Salmon is tenacious, hanging on to Eagle as well as life itself. I sometimes call this piece "The Eternal Struggle." Both Eagle and Salmon are traditional crest figures in Northwest Coastal art.
- Most common size is 36" x 14".
- Alaskan Yellow Cedar frame. Heads available in elk or buffalo.
- Support stand and pow-wow size beater sticks also available.
- Custom sizes are available. Call 1-541-729-4530 or email for quote.
- Allow 4 weeks for delivery.
Here are some examples of custom sizes, styles, and art work for past customers