A few weeks ago, my sister treated me to a weekend on Dartmoor, making drums with Carolyn Hillyer. It was an amazing experience, camping just outside Postbridge, creating instruments with beautiful people and coming home with our very own drums!
Carolyn is an incredible woman – I have long loved her work and it was a real treat to be able to make drums with her during this weekend of crafts, especially with my sister by my side. Making a drum was an intense experience – I love creating things with other people – but have never worked with animals in this way before. Cleaning, cutting and stretching the deer skin was at first, challenging and later, humbling, as I got into the flow. Appreciation for the spirit of the animal that gave it’s skin began to bubble up and the final stages, including tightening the skin across the frame were filled with awe and excitement. As well as red deerskin drum workshops with Carolyn, her husband, Nigel Shaw led a group of flute makers, creating wind instruments from the wood around their smallholding. Once we had all finished, we were invited into the roundhouse for a fire ceremony to bless our creations. The flautists were able to play a magical refrain on their instruments but the drums required more time to dry before they could be struck.
So, my drum came home with me and dried (and gave off strong smells) and finally she was ready to be played. I wanted to wait for a magical, auspicious time for her first unveiling and that, I believe, will be tonight. The full moon is in sagittarius and there will a lunar eclipse just after 9pm. So, my incredible drum will come out and play amongst the trees, blessed by the intense lunar energies of the fullest moon. I’m so excited!
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