Sunday, August 8, 2010


Back around 1998 or so, I was at the annual Powwow in Austin when my then wife bought me a kit for a Native American style flute. I'd been enjoying the music for some time. That kit remained unmade and survived several moves and our subsequent breakup. Finally, around 2005, I felt the need for a project, and I came across that kit. The process of making it was very enjoyable. I ended with a very nice, playable flute, and several ideas of how to do it perhaps better. 
Since it was Thanksgiving when I finished that first flute, I decided I would make flutes for each of my five children for the next year's Christmas. A special, handmade gift for each of them. That gave me slightly more than a year to learn more, and craft the flutes. I joined a couple of really good Yahoo Groups on making Native American style Flutes, (NAF for short.) These groups were basic_naf_making, and nativeflutewoodworking. These wonderful groups furnished a great starting place to learn the craft and see other works. The basic instructions that came with my original kit were adapted from a set published by Ben Hunt in his classic "Complete Book of  Indiancraft". This is a very simple and easy to follow set of instructions. I wanted to go a bit beyond this, though, so I finally ordered a manual from one of the Yahoo Group members, Kieta, AKA Kieth Stanford at With Kieta's manual as a starting point, I was able to produce my flutes.
The Five Flutes

For the fetish blocks on my children's flutes, I chose figures to represent what each would consider a significant totem for themselves, including a frog, a horse, a monkey, and two different Kokopelli figures. The woods used included local juniper, walnut, and yellow cedar.

Since then, I've gone on to make and sell several other NAF style flutes. Both by order and vending at craft fairs.

Now as to my Native American style flutes. Notice I specify the "style" part. I do have some Native American blood, mostly Choctaw, but it isn't enough to legally claim myself to be a Native American craftsman. That is actually a legal point when you begin to sell crafts.
What we call the Native American flutes were made in several of the indigenous cultures in the Americas, as well as several other types of whistles and flutes. Hunt, and others, called this style of flute the "Love Flute", as one of the purposes for it was in courting. In the last several years many artists, including R. Carlos Nakai, Bill Miller, and others, have greatly popularized the music.

I greatly enjoy playing my own flutes. They are very easy to play and the act of playing can be very introspective, restful, even meditative. There have been several studies about the natural tones produced having curative powers for the human body and psyche. I won't make any claims to that, other than to say it seems to be true for me. 
Moonstone Buffalo Flute
Moonstone Buffalo
I'll post a few pictures here of some of my latest flutes. I use a variety of materials, woods, and make them in several keys. I'm always trying new tunings and methods.

Pair of Dragons
Close up Dragon

Stone Turtle
Stone Goddess

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