And as long as I am constantly checking the heat level by rubbing my hands up and down the length of the stalk I can let the fire continue to burn on it's own. Less work for me. :) In this case, sometimes I have fun blowing my breath into the stalk, creating a little smoke-thrower torch.
Finally, gently brushing on the Whey coating, 3-5 times over the whole exterior(perhaps adding in a fern leaf or a flower petal, or even a humble crystal). This lacquer dries much quicker, so soon I can flush the inside out with three coatings, by taping the mouthpiece and pouring excessive milk lacquering in the inside. This is crucial for waterproofing the inside from saliva, and also stopping the fibers inside from absorbing vibration. After this dries is when I can finally hear it's true tone!
Want to learn to make your own didgeridoo? Details at bottom of page.
I spread the seeds of the agave while harvesting, to engage in symbiotic relation with nature from the beginning. Awareness ripples into the vibrations and harmonies of the didjeridu's permeating resonance.
The Process of Creation:
Hand Carved Mahogany Mouthpiece:
Every Didge has a custom designed mouthpiece, shaped to a perfect fit, for smooth connection and seal that will never melt.
Conscious Harvesting, Hand-Sanding, Fire-Hollowing, Breath-Activating, Meditation Inspiring, Infinity Vibrating
These didjeridus are hollowed through fire alchemy (to keep them holistically in one piece) and lacquered naturally, with nature, sustainability, integrity, healing and indigenous reverence in mind and heart.
Before burning I spend about two hours feeding a fire as big and hot as I can get it. Often I start with sage and birch bark, and pour my gratitude into the flames. Then I feed the end of metal re-bar rods into the coals. Once they get red hot, they will transfer the fire's heat into the core of the agave stalk, billowing out thick plumes of smoke, converting the entire innards into smoke and ash.
Next I spend about 2 hours scraping out the inside with a hollow aluminum rod, to get all the ash off and scrape out any residual fibers I may have missed to make the wall thicknesses even, which is important for tone quality.
It takes me about 2-4 hours to get all the way hollow.
Once I have punctured a hole all the way through the stalk, and the inner fire has oxygen coming from both sides, the fire becomes increasingly difficult to maintain. Meaning if it gets out of control, it will burn a hole through the stalk, or worse, become so thin that it becomes too weak to be a didjeridu.
Finally, after sanding the whole exterior and the bell of the agave stalk, I cap on and carve a mouthpiece on the top. This one has a slight concave shape to fit the slight curve of the human face. And is made of tulip poplar and white pine. It takes me about two hours to carve it to the perfect fit.
Mostly finished with the harvest, after an hour the flare is revealed and this one looks strong and dry enough that it may keep the whole flare once it's a didge!
I also host "Make Your Own Didjeridu Retreats" where you get to go home with your own agave didjeridu. This includes a whole weekend of camping, music around the fire, circular breathing and playing techniques classes, dinner, a sound healing etc. This costs $430
Agave is an incredibly lightweight wood, making it ideal for traveling and sound healing.
Didgeridoo craft, Unity Harp creations and Sound Healing
Why I make Didjeridus: To me, the didjeridu represents the perpetual tone of immortal awareness. That which is beyond existence, that which shall never change, never die, and we are all returning to.
The essence of all being that is created through the simplicity of intentional breath. Giving this moment to aligning with the breath and consciously tone is an incredible form of evolutionary self-propulsion. This is a sacred tool, that reminds us of the power of vibration, of the universe of sound.
If the bell is needing a little strengthening I apply a thin coating of Ecopoxy(bio-based epoxy resins), which is the most natural strengthening epoxy-like thing I could find, which is made from mostly natural materials. Since it does have a small non-natural ingredient in it, I intentionally put it on first, so that the 4-6 coating of natural lacquers coat over it, and intentionally keep it only on the bell.
The orange peel/cashew shell resin goes on next, and it takes a week or two to dry.
Agave stalk in the wild desert. Dead and yet still standing and strong. These spines are razors, and harvesting is often difficult and tedious
Based in Asheville, NC
Using the metal rods represents the element of metal in the five elements of eastern traditions. The water feeds the agave while it grows, and all of life. Then the wood element turns into fire. The fire transfers into the metal and burns out the Earth through the agave stalk to make way for the element of air, your breath.
This is why I feel it is so important to not split the agave in half to hollow it out, which is commonplace.
Don't want to just buy a didgeridoo, but want to make it yourself and have the full experience?
Learn how to fire-hollow Your Own Didjeridu out of an Arizona Agave Blossom Stalk.
Bask in a didgeridoo(and much more) sound healing, learn didgeridoo playing tips for tonal variety, meditative harmony, and circular breathing. Enjoy camping in a serene woodsy environment, using fire-metal alchemy to make your instrument, pond swimming, dinner served Saturday Evening and musical fires Friday and Saturday evenings. And then, after carving your wooden mouthpiece, sanding, and scraping the inside, we lacquer your didgeridoo with natural and sustainable whey based coatings, and you take your new instrumental ally home.
For the entire weekend, and taking your own didgeridoo home, the cost is usually around $300. Which is the same as the least expensive didgeridoo you can buy from me, plus you get playing lessons(usually $50), a sound healing(usually $10 per person) dinner, camping, comradery, and more.
These retreats tend to happen around the spring and fall equinox's in the Asheville, NC region.
To secure your spot, make a deposit of $100 through paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org
(Check in with me about dates and availability before making deposit.)
Kennedy OneSelf has been playing the didgeridoo for 8 years, and making them for 7 years. This has been such a big focus and cultivation in his life, that he has become quite masterful in both making and playing them. This is a rare opportunity to have a full initiation into the vibrations of this amazing tool.
Here is the website of the lacquer that we will use
For years, as a deep purist, I only used raw tung oil to coat my didgeridoos. They were rough and tacky, but completely natural! These days, I use poly-whey, which is 95% natural, and far more sleek and clean. These didgeridoos end up being totally water proof, you can even leave it in the rain! And fairly durable and amazingly toned. Agave didgeridoos have a tone that is far superior to bamboo, similar to hardwood, and immensely lightweight.
Let The Sparks Fly!
Once you put the glowing metal rod into the soft, pithy, spongy innards of the agave stalk they spew clouds of smoke into the air. The agave smoke is particularly intense when breathed or in the eyes, far more intense than normal woodfire.
Sometimes, later in the fire, when the coals are extremely hot, the agave stalk will actually ignite into flames. I always feel this to be auspicious for this particular didge. Recently I watched a full circle of flames spiraling through the cooridor of the hollow stalk.
Didgeridoo Immersion Retreats
I have spent 7 years experimenting to find the most natural/non-toxic coatings in combination with the most Ecologically Conscious practices, including using recycled materials and renewable resources.
Currently I use a combination of orange peels and cashew shell resin(Earthpaint), in conjunction with a Milk based lacquer that was discovered in a sustainability initiative that uses whey from the cheese industry, keeping it out of the dumpster(Vermont Natural Coatings) They even use all recycled plastic for their jugs.
Why do I do this?
I experience the didgeridoo as a sacred channel, an awakening reminder through vibration, and it feels that it does not want to be covered in plastic.