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.
Once you put the glowing metal rod into the soft, pithy, spongy innards of the agave stalk they spew clouds of smoke into your face. The agave smoke is particularly intense when breathed or in the eyes, far more intense than normal woodfire.
If the bell is needing a little strengthening I apply a thin coating of Ecopoxy, 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.
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.
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.
Agave stalk in the wild desert. Dead and yet still standing and strong. These spines are razors, and harvesting is often difficult and tedious
Mostly finished with the harvest, after an hour the bell is revealed and this one looks strong and dry enough that it may keep the whole bell once it's a didge!
It takes me about 2-4 hours to get all the way hollow.
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.
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.
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The Process of Creation:
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 plunge through vibration, and it feels that it does not want to be covered in plastic.
One day, my dear friend was listening to me playing the didjeridu and picked up the bottom to place it over her heart. Her response reflected such awe that I decided to use it for moving energy and unblocking energetic stagnation.
In this moment I was sleeping in a bush in Santa Cruz, hiding from the two weeks of forecasted flood warnings that were pouring atop me. After the revelation of my purpose to craft these vibrations, I was released from the situation that I felt stuck in, found a ride all the way back to Flagstaff, Arizona, my home at the time, and was invited to park my broken down van(my house) in a friend's parking garage....which had a fireplace in it...and all the tools I needed to make didjeridus. In order to make didjeridus through the snowy freezing flagstaff mountain winter it was essential that I have an indoor fireplace, that I could fill with massive plumes of smoke. That was offered to me immediately and for free.
Then I met a wonderful man who invited me to attend his didjeridu making workshop for free($200 for everyone else). After being taught how to use the glowing hot steel rebars to fire-hollow agave stalks into didjeridus(Thanks Quinn!), I was gifted multiple agave(the perfect material to make into a didgeridoo), and the house I was staying at was gifted for me to live alone through the whole winter and spring for free, providing me the time and devotion and solitude and space to teach myself the rest of the process. The fire was my house's only heating through a single digits winter, and fortunately it served two purposes. This is how I learned to make didjeridus.
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.
How these didges came into being:
One day, I played a didge and decided to manifest one. The next morning a travelling fellow told me that spirit told him to give his only didjeridu to me. This began a long journey of service to vibration.
These one-of-a-kind didjeridus are available for sale at around $240-$380
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.
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!
I also host "Make Your Own Didjeridu Workshops" where you get to go home with your own agave didjeridu. This costs $140
Agave is an incredibly lightweight wood, making it ideal for traveling and sound healing.
Let The Sparks Fly!
Didgeridoo craft, Unity Harp creations and Sound Healing
Based in Asheville, NC
Copyright 2013. Tangible Vibrations. All rights reserved.