This drum skin is so delicately patterned with a filigree of designs made by the deer himself, that I have not yet been able to add my painting to its perfection. The deer whose skin became this drum grew up on Cortes Island, probably eating apples from the pioneer orchards that dot my neighborhood and browsing on cedar tips and huckleberry buds. I receive my hides from Island hunters that I know, and whose respect and care when hunting I value. I know the man who shot this animal, and know all parts of the deer’s body became food or went to island artists like myself.
The drum skin is stretched on a 14” ash wood frame. I choose ash wood because of the belief in ancient cultures that the essence of humankind originated from the ash tree. It is the inner and outer worlds linked. The tree was regarded as one of the seasonal guises of the Goddess, associated with thunderstorms which water the earth, and with the birthing season of animals. Especially, it is the Great World Tree from which Odin hung himself to receive illumination through contact with the dead. In myth, it contains the power of the sky and sun gods, and yet its magical abilities have to do with the element of water. These are beautiful bones upon which to stretch a voice calling to Spirit. I float my drum skins around hoops of wood, and fasten these energies together with a cedar ring. Cedars are the Grandmothers and Grandfathers of these northern forests, and it is an honor to gather the withies with songs and gifts to these majestic trees.
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 lacings 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.
This drum has been sold.