Drum-making Workshop

This last Saturday we stepped outside the box a bit by offering a drum-making workshop.  Environmental Education?  Sure – we use wood and animal hides, and talk about how people today, and historically, have used drums to connect with nature and spirit.  It was something different for us and we had a full class!

The drums were made from horse hide and deodar cedar.  I had ordered the hides at the beginning of the year and cut the heads and lacings from them a couple weeks earlier.  The day before the class, the hides were put to soak for nearly 24 hours.

We had eight people signed up for the class.  One could not attend, but was still given his kit to make later.  With two at a table, everyone had plenty of elbow room to make his/her drum.   Many thanks to my friend Chris for coming out and volunteering her time and expertise for this class.

The first thing we did was sand the hoops – didn’t want anyone to get a splinter!

Then the hides were removed from their baths and gently blotted.

Next came the fun part – lacing the drum head around the frame, using about 30′ of lacing!  It’s a fun and slimy venture.

After the laces are threaded through the 16 holes, they are tightened, one by one.  When the right taughtness is achieved, the handle is wrapped.  We used the four-direction handle.

Two and a half hours later, everyone had a finished drum and beater!  Well, nearly finished – now the drums must dry for a week before they are ready to be played.

Would you like to see more programs like this at Dahlem?  If so, give us a call or stop by to let us know.

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