I made my first drum over 20 years ago and after reading Layne Redmond’s book “When the Women were Drummers” I felt guided to create drums for people to play and connect to the heartbeat of our Earth Mother.
Hides mostly come from within the United Kingdom and are either from culled wild deer/stags or animals that have naturally died. The hide is a waste product so by using it we are honouring the animal. Mostly the horse/cow/buffalo/reindeer/goat are sourced outside the UK
People often ask where the hides are from so i am writing this to share my feelings deeper.
Over the many years of working with hides in creating beautiful Medicine Dums, and as a life long vegetarian/vegan I’ve wrestled with the ethics for a long time, in the end my calling to make drums and bring us to the heartbeat of our Mother was too strong! I source my materials as ethically as possible, supporting local crafts people.
None of the Deer or Stags are killed specifically for their hide to make your Drum. Deer, Stag and Reindeer hides come from wild culled herds, where their hides are otherwise discarded- usually burned. What a waste!
In the absence of top predators in the wild, such as wolves and bears the wild deer populations rise each year to levels that have deleterious effects on the rest of the ecosystem, both in terms of what they eat and of the other animals that are effected by this. To try and manage this, the current solution is to cull the Deer. While the meat does enter the venison trade, the vast majority of the hides are incinerated.
In the interest of honouring the spirit of the animal and not wasting any part of its body, by birthing a Drum from its hide, you give it new life as a Sacred Medicine Tool which will be loved and cared for and which will share its wisdom and healing with all those who work with it.
Most of my hoops are Ash and with the increase of ‘ash dieback’ there are lots of ask being felled. As part of creating the drums, we praye and send healing prayers to the ash, and connect in to the moghty ancient Ash of the forests.
Plastic/ vegan drums- Sometimes playing a plastic Drum can be advantageous (for example while playing in the rain), but it is far from the eco-friendly alternative. Plastic is not victimless. While many choose a synthetic Drum for personal and practical reasons, these plastic drumheads or plastic laced Drums are not sustainable or eco-friendly alternatives, nor can they claim to be made from ethically sourced materials.
We often focus around questions of sustainability and cruelty to animals, and tend to miss the discussion taking from nature, over taking from nature, and taking from nature without recprocity and ceremony.
In shamanic and indigenous cultures nature would be deeply connected to thier lives, so when taking/hunting something there would be journeys asking for guidance, offerings, ritual, songs, prayers and communication with the spirit/s.
How to we recify this process when birthing our medicine drums? i believe in ‘catch up ceremonies’ – where we go back and create a ceremony, ritual, journey, pryaer for something in the past. So we give thanks for the medicine gifts and we pray ad we honour them by creating a beautiful healing medicine tool! Our Drum!