Dryad Flutes

A flute made from a tree branch offers her player a more direct, experiential 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 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 natural characteristics are very capable of contributing to the quality of a flute, though they present a greater challenge to the flute maker than working with a stock piece of 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 to each branch in the process of finding her 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 outside my shop: 

~ A tuning that is recording and concert quality, with a clear, sweet voice that's not too breathy.

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

~ Represent the spirit, beauty and natural strength of the tree that grew her.

After boring out the sound and air chambers, keeping the branch whole and intact, every branch worked is kiln dried before voicing ensuring that it has shrunk as much as it's ever going to, helping to prevent any degradation over time in tuning or tone.  On the native style flutes a cedar shoe is laminated to the bottom of the "bird" or block to aid against wetout.  On recorder style flutes, cedar is inlayed around the emboucher, windway, window and labium, to help keep that area free of wood movement or decay and also as an aid against wetout.  On those flutes with the bark left on, I make sure the bark is 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.  I appreciate your interest and wish you many natural blessings!

Jon Sherman

Jon Sherman      All Karmic Laws Applicable      All Rights Reserved