Sunday, May 08, 2011

A Loooong Flute Journey....

(click on pics to enlarge)

This is a post that might not trip your trigger in details, but it does paint a larger picture of how one of my singing sticks comes to life, which you may find interesting. A good many are made and finished in fairly short order, and those are almost always more simple in design.

Then there are the 'specialty' flutes, flutes that have some unique, detailed design element that requires a lot of extra work and, correspondingly, command higher prices. I basically build only what I envision and feel, taking custom orders very, very sparingly. I can and will only work when I'm inspired and 'feel' I'm in a good spiritual place. On those days where I'm out of sorts, I just don't touch flutes. Not a good mojo and mix of efforts. Sometimes they come to 'life' in a reasonable amount of time....and then, well....

And so I had this Ambrosia Maple closed end flute that I blogged about....get this...February 18, 2009! OMG, here I was thinking I've had this flute a year and it's well over two. Talk about how time flies when you're stuck in "writer's block"! Find that post by clicking HERE. Eegads.

This is the flute as it has pretty much sat since then, with only minor shaping at the 'foot' where the woodpecker was going to go....

The above two shots show my pics of a Downy Woodpecker feeeding, up against what I was 'envisioning' for the flute. Originally the flute was going to be an F#4, but as I honed down the woodpecker and tweaked the tuning, it was much better suited for a G4, up a half step.

Voila, the flute finished off with the woodpecker detailed and painted. NOW came another big hurdle...what to do for the block? The main interest is the foot of the flute, and I didn't want a detailed block that would compete with the focus of the woodpecker. Conversely, I didn't want such a simple block design that it detracted from the focus...and so I sat with notebook and pencil and sketched. And sketched. And sketched.

I've done this with only a very few flutes, where I take scrap wood and glue up a composite shape of the pieces. Above you see scrap Bloodwood and Ebony, my actual pencil sketch (cut out) of the main tail sweep bordered by two 'wing' pieces, once of which you see cut out.

The three pieces weren't quite wide enough for the flute, so I glued on 'side bars' on the outer edge, knowing I'd sand their width down some. Too, you don't want a pure Ebony bottom exposed over the flue as such a design would lead to quick I thought I'd incorporate the red with the Bloodwood for a bottom choice. The bottom above was rougher than normal as a couple of pieces fractured off, but I knew I'd slap it on the belt sander and flatten it all before adding the Bloodwood.

With some shaping and careful sanding, the block took on an elegant sweeping design of a bird of sorts, with tail and wings, the Ebony and Bloodwood repeating the colors in the Downy Woodpecker. Only one thing left to do.....

The new G4 Downy Woodpecker flute fresh off the press as of today, as I write. Still a couple of more finish coats to put on, and the most minor of touch-up...goes to prove that I don't just whip these 'kids' out without a lot of thought and intentional thought! This one is close to a record, I'll admit. Worth the wait, though, eh? ;-)

Friday, May 06, 2011

"Fried Fridays: 5-Finger-Stop-N-Shop"

Boy, I just am NOT getting back into the routine of blogging, so apologies. Here is yet another Friday and my usual creative writing streaks simply are not coming forth. Doesn't stop me from coming up with not only a 'fried' story, but a pathetic trend that is really bothersome...

On the news this morning was a surveillance video from a convenience store. I watched in disbelief when a group of 20 or so teens rushed in and began stealing any and everything in a flurry, and left in the same rush. They talked on cell phones, having a good ol' time with their twisted social party, while the unarmed clerk could only watch. The youth brandished no weapons, just came in with wanton disregard for anything resembling a moral fabric, taking whatever they wanted.

A quick web search reveals a disturbing number of flash mob thefts, often 13-17 year olds that tweet each other, pick a location, then amass and steal at will. It's sickening....and easy to start making sweeping singular statements that simply can't encompass how deeply the problem goes. Where are the parents, where did their upbringing go awry, why aren't they in school...they're nothing less than little thugs whose lives are rapidly heading in the wrong direction. The Hip Hop culture certainly helps breed this lawlessness through a perverted sense of entitlement and 'revenge rights' from being 'wronged' by society.

After the disaster in Japan, it was quickly noted looting simply wasn't happening. Japanese culture doesn't tolerate that behavior. I've heard it said if you drop your wallet in Tokyo, there's a good chance it will be returned to you with cash and cards in place. You also don't have the handgun issues there, but that's a whole 'nuther can of insidious worms.

It's disgusting whenever there is a disaster in the U.S. that looting begins immediately. The Alabama tornadoes were a classic example, where shortly after being leveled by a tornado, people were filmed stealing any and all merchandise they could. One store owner said he didn't mind people stealing water and food, but one lady that a reporter confronted had a giant bag of nothing but alcohol. She saw nothing wrong with taking any and every bit she could.

I had to sadly laugh watching an expose on some show like 60 minutes several months ago....they were interviewing the North Carolina Attorney General (I think) on how she takes the counterfeiting business seriously. She had coordinated a large undercover sting operation at a flea market in rural eastern NC, where they arrested vendors selling pirated movies, CDs, and fake clothing labels.

The cameras were rolling in 'reality show' style as the arrests were made, and.....lo and behold...cameras panned over to flea market goers who quickly began stealing merchandise when the vendors were being cuffed and led away.

I don't even know how to wrap this post up. Before long, there will be a flash mob theft where a clerk fires on the criminals and bodies fall. And knowing how a lot of things work in our country, the clerk will be made a villain and the thugs made 'victims' by a society that has done them wrong.

Somewhere, somehow, we really took a left turn at Albuquerque...