Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Drum Making Workshop - A Special Experience

By: Debby Lytle, Lanark Drum Circle; Photos: Robert McDonald

I was so happy to participate in the Drum Making Workshop held on Saturday April 2nd at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum,  sponsored by Lanark Drum Circle. I found it amazing to create another drum under the teaching of Pinock - a master at not only drum making - but birch baskets, rattles, snow shoes and canoes as well. His humble and easy manner, and practised hand put us all at ease and encouraged us all to create our beautiful drums.  
Hoops (frames) for the drums, each one unique, hand steamed and bent,
secured with hide lacing.
In all 18 drums were made, the hoops constructed of bent ash and secured with lacing.   Deer hide was used for 16 of the drums and 2 were moose hide.  Seemingly yards and yards of lacing were used to secure the hide to the frame and create the impressive crossed pattern at the back of the hoop.
Lacing the drums under the watchful eye of master craftsman Pinock.
We also feasted that day, morning with a juice punch made in part with cranberry juice from the Iroquois Cranberry Growers, Wahta Mohawks in Bala Ontario.  Fresh fruit, cornbread muffins and banana bread rounded out the breakfast buffet.  At lunch we were treated to a delicious Three Sisters Soup, two types of Bannock, one plain and one cheese and some really tasty blueberry sauce all made by Francine (aka Sunflower) Desjardins' loving hand.   Debby's husband Dave smoked some trout as a special treat and surprise to those attending.
Pinock's helper Conrad cuts one end of the lacing to a sharp point
Photographer Robert (Bob) McDonald attended and snapped some great shots of participants working intently at their drums.  It was a full day where the creative energy and gratitude for the sharing of culture and teachings was plentiful.
Pinock demonstrates the lacing technique
Francine summed it up very nicely when she presented Pinock with a sketch of a small bird, a gift she said that reminded her of the sharing Pinock is doing... spreading the seeds of his culture while teaching his craft.
Pinock lacing the drum
After the drum is created it should not be played until its spirit has been awakened.  The drum is awakened on the 7th day.   An exercise in discipline and self-control.  It is very tempting to play my drum and hear her voice but I will wait for an appropriate ceremony.  This is the hard part.
One of the moose hide drums, note thicker hide and lacing.
It is believed that the voice of the drum is awakened during this ceremony, "the animal and tree from which it was made have their own unique medicine and their spirits are part of the drum", giving each drum its own unique voice and vibration.   Sometimes the drum is given a name, which is generally a female name, and its rhythm is said to be the heartbeat of mother earth or in some cultures, the heartbeat of all life.
Beautiful pattern halfway through be repeated on
remaining 2 groups of 4.
Slowly some of the cultural traditions, languages are re-sprouting. When we sing and drum, we can let our spirit soar. All part of Healing and Reconciliation.
Comments from participants:
"Oh my goodness.  It was such a wonderful day.  The people, the positive energy.  Just lovely!!"
"I am so blessed to learn the teachings."
"Thank you again for the lovely fish that you and your husband provided it was so yummy."
"I enjoyed the workshop yesterday and meeting all the new people."

Lanark Drum Circle  gathers on the 2nd Sunday of the month at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum. All are welcome!  Call Debby, 613-257-1014, for more information.

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