In Monday's post I totally forgot to mention the Saturday evening soiree in Tryon, NC where I played my flutes a while. The Upstairs Gallery was celebrating it's 30th anniversary, and having a wonderful gala last Saturday night. Though you wouldn't know it with the picture below, it was actually pretty crowded there. The Upstairs has rightfully gained a regional reputation for fine art shows, and many artisans were represented in this retrospective show. My art, now, involves what I call 'functional art'...my flutes, which can be basic or quite fancy...below I'm playing my newly finished "Rattlesnake flute"...
A 'normal' flute is a hollow tube that has a round hole at the end...but you can leave the end of the flute solid for future carving, and let the hole come out of the bottom side of the flute so the flute will play. They're called 'closed-end flutes', and they're almost always very special. However, not everyone thinks it's cool to be playing a flute with a snake on it...
The overall idea came in stages...I played a flute for a very large black rat snake over a year ago, which was actually really neat...and I thought that I'd carve the end of the flute in its honor, so I roughed out the serpentine form. I concurrently thought that it would be neat to carve it such that the snake was slithering out from a hollow log.
Then, after the roughed out flute sat for over a year, I watched a Broadwing Hawk eat a freshly caught snake, and I more recently ran into the rattler I blogged about a couple of months ago...a while back I picked up a piece of cedar that with very little sanding looked a lot like a hawk, and so I went with the rattlesnake-being-watched-by-a-hawk motif for the final work!
I mounted the cedar on a piece of ironwood to make it look like the hawk was carefully eyeing the snake from a perch. The flute body is Poplar, nothing fancy, so I took my woodburning knife and burnt the entire flute to look like a log (not a quick process!). The snake was just a wee bit too small to bother with burning in all the scales, and so I resorted to painting...still a few minor touch-ups to go, but it's basically done.
It was interesting to note which flutes I gravitated toward playing as the crowds and noise level grew. Each flute has its unique characteristics, and depending on many parameters there is a better time for some than others, and vice versa...and the Rattlesnake flute was a bold singer (key of A) that I continued to pick up time and again. The other one was my deep bass A sideblown flute, two flutes I'll have a harder time parting with after that night.
That's me with my sister Beth...don't know why I didn't get pics of my mom and everybody else, but it was a bit wild and crazy with all that was going on. Below is a pic with Nancy Holmes, current head of the Upstairs Gallery and a good friend who lined me up for the night.
Puffy sore hands and all, I can almost always play a flute...and so went Saturday night's festivities swimmingly. Insofar as official flute commitments for 2008, that wrapped up this year...now it's time to plan on spreading my wings farther and wider in 2009;