Rippled Cherry Dolphin flute in F with Kingwood endcaps



Custom flutes

More and more frequently I am having people coming to me with very specific requests for a Custom flute to be made. Below are a few such, with their attendant stories....!

Please be patient - this page may take a little longer to load. Also, you will see the requests get more elaborate as we go....

I start with a client who had already become a good family friend through me making him flutes for recording and stage performance. His first request was relatively straightforward...could he have a high D flute in yew with ebony endcaps and an ebony bear claw block. The result is below.





His second request was more ...unusual....could he please have a bass flute with inlays and a totem block that was a carving of our pet Bearded Dragon's head (with whom he has a great rapport)!

The choice of wood here was English Lime - very pale and perfect for setting off bead inlays, and light and resonant enough to make a good C sharp bass flute. The result is shown below, and really got me into carving animal totem blocks.



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The beaded inlays are actually set into grooves lathed in the flute barrel, and lie flush to the barrel for a cleaner effect; this also avoids them dislodging during transport and in concerts!

I then had a client email me and ask if I could make a high B flute that would play in a gale on the North Yokshire Moors AND on a clifftop, AND at the same time be clear and crisp enough to play miked in his local folk club AND record with, AND have an interesting wood grain AND have a Heron head block! Yes, this one did take a little development, but the outcome was a great success

English flame cherry high B with a Grey Heron head flat-based block for indoor playing, and a deep-chimneyed channel-base Purple Heron block for playing on a cliff in a gale>

The next one here is a favourite, if only because I collect Green Men heads (Jack-in-the Green) and because the Crow family of birds (Corvidae, or 'Jacks') is much misunderstood here in Britain. A client who is a Storyteller asked me to make a 'Jacks' flute - a very English-spirited flute. After much discussion and inspiration, the result was an English Oak in E with a Magpie flat block for indoor playing and a Cornish Chough chimney and channel block for outdoors, and a Green Man image burned and painted at the barrel base. A gorgeous looking and sounding flute that took quite a while to make, but was worth every second! A special thanks to my Spirit Guides here.


The oak was cut across the heart and sapwood to reveal a lovely patterning to what could otherwise be a rather plain grained wood.

 
Having started carving animal blocks, the Universe has been sending me challenges ever since, like this one for a client who wanted a flute bearing his Spirit animal, a badger (click to enlarge the image).

low B NA flute with badger block

   

Hummingbirds have a huge part in Native American legend, often being seen as messengers between Worlds, so this Alaskan Yellow Cedar Healing flute in F# was a joy to do. It started as a request from a Reiki Master for a learner flute along the lines of the Hummingbird flute shown on the Sacred Spirit page, but with some "twigs and leaves up the flute"; after some careful positioning to make sure the vine artwork did not lie under her fingers, the end result shows that sometimes a stylised block is better than a carved and painted one for emphasizing the detailed artwork on the barrel (click to enlarge image). The other element in this flute is the inclusion in the upper chamber of Rose Quartz and Black Tourmaline crystals to enhance the Healing qualities of the flute’s beautiful voice.

hummingbird flute F# - click to enlarge


  This flute (click to enlarge image) follows another customer's request (and it is a very popular one) for a flute that honours Corvids in its theme, with artwork of an English Crow at the foot of the flute, complemented by a life-carved Crow head block. The Corvidae are a much maligned family of birds in many Lands, but they are highly intelligent, very communicative, can make and use tools to get food, and can count.

Crow flute Native American style - click to enlarge

In English legend, King Arthur was transformed into a Crow on his death. In Nordic mythology the Raven symbolizes wisdom; the God Odin had two Ravens called Hugin and Munin who flew around gathering news of happenings in the world, and sat on the God's shoulders telling him of what they had seen. The Crow was seen as a guardian of the Sacred Laws among the tribes of North America, a creature whose far-seeing eye saw past, present, and future all at once. For the Algonquin peoples, Crow was the bringer of grains and beans, and in their Ghost Dances, which are danced to solicit the help of their ancestors, Crow is a primary Spirit messenger.

   
  Next, a flute with great significance to it's owner; the hand-carved block was requested to honour a stag which she found hurt, possibly shot, but with enough strength left to struggle away into the forest. Not knowing what happened to the stag has haunted her ever since, and this seemed a good way to keep the animal's memory alive and present. The flute body is made from a log of English Beech, carefully spalted at Second Voice over a two year period and then dried for a further year. Such pieces of wood have incredibly beautiful patterning and colouring. Click the image for a close up look!

Spalted beech NA flute with Stag block - click to enlarge

To enhance the flute's Energy, healing crystals were embedded in the upper (SAC) chamber. The Energy alignment, balancing and order ofthese crystals is vital. First the breath goes over Tourmalated Rose Quartz to remove all negative energies and stimulate clear thoughts and intentions, then over Turquoise to promote Spiritual attunement and strengthen the healing Energy fields, and finally over Fluorite to concentrate the mind, bring order to the Energies and open up powerful healing channels.

   
 

Moving on, themed flutes are a common request. Everything about the flute below honours the Spirit of Water and all the Life that lives in it. The key of D is associated with the 2nd Sacral Chakra and the element Water. Alder is known as the Water tree; these trees were a major part of the ancient landscape in Britain, forming ‘carrs’ which were forests growing partially submerged in their natural habitat of water. Even today many waterways are lined with Alder. It is also considered in legend to be the wood of choice for pipes and flutes, due to its pitted ‘honeycombed’ nature which gives excellent resonance. The rippling of the grain in this stunning piece of wood from Dartmoor also gives the appearance of Water. The block pays homage to marine life with a stylized Southern Right Whale. The painted accent depicts Shamagim, the Garden of the Unicorn, which literally translated means “the place where the Water is”. The Unicorn itself has been a prominent part of many belief systems and religions since time immemorial; it is also associated with healing and protection. Click the image for a closer look.

Alder Water Spirit NA flute - click to enlarge

As with the Stag flute above, this is a Healing Flute; the upper chamber crystals and wood have been carefully chosen for the right balance and level of Energy. The flute has been made and prepared beneath protective Hazel trees, aligned East-West to the rising Sun and Moon, and tied to Earth, Water, Fire and Air Energies with the protection of the crystal Tourmaline, which takes any negative Energies and converts them to positive. This alignment is vital for such a flute, as Healing Energy has to be balanced at all times. The order in which the crystals occur is also important; the breath goes over Black Tourmaline first to remove all negative energies and stimulate clear thoughts and intentions, then Rose Quartz to promote Healing Energies, then Turquoise to promote Spiritual attunement and strengthen the Healing Energy fields, and finally the Fluorite to concentrate the mind, bring order to the Energies and open up powerful Healing and inner peace.

And then we come to the ultimate personalized flute, and a huge challenge to try and bring someone's flute vision into being......

Sitka spruce bass dron in C with Bear, Wolf and Eagle block

A request from an experienced flute player in Arizona for a low C Healing Bass drone in Sitka Spruce with a quiet meditative mellow voice (sound clips are on the Hear the Flutes page). OK.... fine, this one had Tourmaline, Turquoise and Rose Quartz in the upper chambers and Ash endcaps to give what is a very soft wood some resilience to denting.... but please could the block be carved to show the player's Spirit animals, namely Black Bear and Grey Wolf standing on a specific piece of rock overlooking the Mogollon Rim in Arizona with Bald Eagle flying above them, and then could there be footprints of Bear and Wolf intertwined and Eagle silhouettes up the flute to symbolise their presence on the player's Life Journey...? Well, why not! These bass drones are a big canvas to work on, so I did it over a period of six weeks, including carving small footprints into solid metal blanks to make pyrography tips. I must also say this is the one time I carved the animals separate from the base block and assembled them, including mounting the Eagle on a thin but strong wire, at the end of the creation process. This flute taught me so much about how important it is to keep working at something until it is the best it can be. It is without doubt the hardest technical piece I have ever done... so far. The end result was judged a success... "This flute is very very special. Thank you, oh so much! I am already enthralled by its haunting sound... The block is way more than I could ever have dreamed of. My spirit guides, the Bear, Wolf, and Eagle are simply stunning. So life like, so detailed for as small as they are. And the base truly looks just like a piece of Arizona's Mogollon Rim. The art work on the barrels is fantastic too!"
Ron Britton, Gilbert, Arizona.

  Yew Journeying flute - click for more details
 

Below is another example of just how personalized you can make a flute...this was crafted from its inception as a Shamanic Journeying flute, tuned to the key of C#, the Om frequency, and again carries the Bear theme.

Eastern Red Cedar Bear flute - click to enlarge


The player's power animal is a Grizzly Bear, hence the block, but she also wanted to symbolize the Life-Spirit link that humans and animals share. The outcome was the engraving in the flute barrel of a human hand with a life-spiral in it and a bear pawprint with a similar spiral to symbolize the drawing in of Energy. The word 'Wacekije' meaning 'prayer/seeking' and 'communication/connection' was also engraved in. For protection and healing, the upper chamber carried Tourmaline and Turquoise. Such flutes are made for use in Healing, Vision Questing and Hollow Bone work, but also for Journeying across the edges of this World and into other Realms. In the right hands, they are very powerful flutes... I do not make them lightly and there are only a handful in existence. If you click on the image of the Yew flute to the right, you will see something of the Spiritual preparation that has to go into such flutes. Please understand, you really have to know what you are doing to use these instruments safely. You will know from your Guides and the events that have happened along your Life Path and Spiritual Path whether a Journeying flute is a necessary step for you; by all means call or email me and we can discuss further.

Below, another flute with personal power animals, and a reminder that it's not uncommon to have several Life forms that mean a lot to the player, although some might not be to everyone's taste! So, a young male Merlin block, a pair of Horseshoe Whip Snakes intertwined with Honeysuckle, all on piece of Hazel cut from a dead limb on one of the trees that overhang my workshop, and tuned to high C. Oh yes... and Labradorite, Smoky Quartz and Green Serpentine in the upper chamber (tricky given the small size of the flute!).

High C Hazel with accents

 


Please feel free to call or email if you would like any more details on the above flute range. And remember, this range can be customised to your own requirements.


 The Owlhouse • Milford • Surrey • UK • dc@secondvoiceflutes.co.uk

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