Dryad Flutes

A flute made from a tree branch offers both the maker and player a more direct relationship with the natural world.  The importance of this relationship poses a challenge from the tree herself ~ to bring the highest quality of craftsmanship possible to this wonderful art form.  And to do so  without losing those characteristics that make a tree so beautiful to behold ~ her bark, her  knots, her unique shape and color, and her enduring strength. These characteristics are very capable of contributing to the quality of a flute, though they present a much greater challenge to the maker than working with a stock piece of straight lumber.   

To meet this challenge, I'll use a combination of hand and power tools, whatever works best for a particular branch.  The most important tool, though, is a focused awareness and listening grace given constantly to the branch in the process of helping her find a voice.  Every branch flute will have her own character, since every tree and each branch is unique.  But within that uniqueness, every Dryad Flute must meet certain high standards before allowed out into the world.  These standard are:

- a tuning that is recording and concert quality, with a clear, pleasing voice that's not too breathy.

- a moderate degree of back-pressure supporting but not inhibiting the player's breath dynamics.

- a sufficiently loud volume with a stable, responsive tone able to accommodate the full dynamic range and moods of a variety of music styles.

- excellent wetout protection.

- represent the spirit, beauty and natural strength of the tree that gave her birth.

After boring out the air and sound chambers, keeping it whole and unsplit, with no glue seam to ever fail, every branch worked is kiln dried before voicing, ensuring that the wood has shrunk as much as it's ever going to, helping to prevent any degradation over time in tuning or tone.  On those flutes with the bark left on, I make sure it's tight to the grain before working it.  One of the advantages of working with green wood is that the natural adherence of the bark can be preserved by sealing the branch in the finishing process.  Many professionally made wooden walking staffs, or rustic furniture like bent willow chairs, leave the bark on for it character and beauty, with no danger of it coming off over time due to the curing and finishing process, a traditional process with decades of proven reliability.  And these willow chairs and walking staffs will survive more moisture, weather and rough handling than a Dryad Flute will hopefully ever see. 

Wishing you health and many natural blessings,
Jon Sherman

Jon Sherman      All Karmic Laws Applicable      All Rights Reserved