Across all time and in every culture, persons of power have traveled to alternate realities on the vibrations of a journey drum.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Singing Child Drum

This large drum of Cortes Island deer hide and spruce wood has a remarkable voice. The beat has a deep, resonant tone, while the drone--the continuous sound upon which one journeys to the Spirit world or does healing work, is a clear high tone like a bell. I have never heard anything quite like it. I imagine this is because the drum is a rare combination of a very thin skin from a young deer stretched onto a large frame, giving an unusual amount of surface to support the drum's harmonics.
This is especially a singing drum. I sing across its surface while holding it at an angle with the edge of the drum head close to my mouth. The sound of my voice expanded and magnified becomes truly an other world sound. I have heard this sound in Eskimo healing chants.

My drum beaters are felted with wool from island sheep, and fitted onto driftwood polished by wind and tide and left along the ocean shore. The lacing and wrappings are made of traditional smoke tan elk or deer leather. I name my beaters with the forces of nature that bring their voices to join in your drum song to Spirit.


The Singing Child drum, unpainted…$350.00

shipping additional

padded doeskin drum stick
with French hitching: Autumn…$60.00

sold separately

Felted drum beater shown has been sold

If this is your drum—email me at

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The Night Drum

This 14" hoop drum of Cortes Island deer and spruce wood was made during a demonstration at my recent shamanic journey art and drum exhibition: Staying Awake in the Spirit World. Although I thought I had several skins to choose from, only this one, with both the bullet entry and exit holes, was available to me. A drum containing the hole of death for the deer, and the hole of life as food for the hunter, is destined for special work. I do not try and arrange such magic--it naturally happens when the drum head can only be fitted onto the skin in such a way that includes this.
Just at the end of making of this drum, when a few of us were left in the gallery after I had finished tying off the last cords, a bat flew into the space. It showed no alarm but flew expertly around and among the hanging drums in the display , and then left through the upper window into a starry night. I took the wet, newly made drum out into the dark, and offered it to the four directions. I blew my breath as food into its good voice, and then held it up to the stars.

This was an old deer; the sound of this drum is rounded and mellow, with harmonic tones in the lower range. The bullet hole in the drum's surface is completely stable and will not crack or tear. The exit hole is supported by the drum rim and anchored with lacing. This drum is able to navigate in the dark, and will be a strong companion into the night.


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