Everything needs a home.
Especially the art of making.
So this home where the deer was just walking by,
is a good home for making a drum.

If you asked me what caused a middle aged white woman
to leave a University teaching post
to become a drum maker–

I would answer–tools.
Even more than forming a never-before-seen-thing,
I love tools with old stories, industrial uses, borrowed genealogies. 

The whole story flows into the making of something.

The exit wound remains in the vibration,

even as the area is sheared away
when fitting skin to wood.

And the fitting is everything.
This is also what I love about making a drum,
I am leaning into a sound I cannot hear,
a tension I cannot measure,
a voice not mine.

This voice already exists as soon as the skin is laid over the cedar hoop, and becomes confirmed when I tie a cord around the frame to keep my mechanical jostling from disturbing the hoped for vibration.

Although this might seem the image of least consequence in this story, it is confirmation of choices gone right.  The lacing is threaded through the holes, the spacing between cord and rim is staying constant: a good stretch.

And yet stretch is a misnomer.

If the skin is actually stretched at this stage,
it will warp the wood with its strength as it dries.
The skill is in determining how much sag now
will create a voice that sings later.

I also love detail work.

The patient building of one gesture to another.

All of this making is aided by tea and company.

And there it is.  Soft wet like a baby bird.  Kissed by cedar shadows and a poinsettia that thinks now is Christmas.  And maybe it is.  What a gift to just go make something.