Growing up in Wyoming, and Utah, I had a great interest in the Native American ways. My own family history has also included stories linking my family to the Native American culture.
Like many others, my first exposure to a Native American flute came from listening to a Carlos Nakai CD, and purchasing a flute kit while visiting Zion National Park. I assembled the kit and promptly left the flute on a shelf for the next 17 years.
My interest was rekindled six years ago while visiting Hawaii with my wife. She saw a Native flute and remarked that she would like to learn to play one. I told here that if she wanted to play I would make her a flute. Where this came from I have no idea as I posses little musical ability or knowledge. I made that flute and followed it up with a second flute for my grandson. By that time I was hooked.
Over the course of the past six years, I have made hundreds of flutes in all sizes and keys. These flutes have been used as aids in meditation practices, spiritual journeys, and a fun and easy instrument to learn to play with others. Utilizing a variety of materials and finishes, each flute is different and unique. No two flutes are the same, each has its own characteristics and sound quality. Currently my futes are enjoyed by hundreds of individuals and are played and recorded by musicians who have been nominated or received Native American Music Awards.
Like many men of my generation, I learned basic woodworking skills in high school. I was fortunate to have an excellent teacher that encouraged my work, and helped plant the seed of interest. Many of the skills learned then are used in my flute making as well as the myriad of other items I make, including turned bowls, salt, pepper, and spice grinders, rolling pins, serving boards, etc. I am always looking for ways to express my creativity through woodworking.
Along the way I have experienced a profound spiritual and personal transformation. The flute has had a significant influence on my life and particularly in the way in which I interact with others. My hope is that the flute can be a part of your spiritual journey as well.