20 years of drummaking

For over 20 years now i have been creating drums, rattles and other shamanic tools. This has been my passion, and i am immensely grateful that i have been able to do this work. From creativity, connection with nature, and listening more and more to how to evolve in this work. To be open for the inspiration and idea’s that are whispered into my ears and hands.

From the beginning i have always gone through the whole process of the drummaking, steambending the frame, cleaning and stretching the hides. Not using any additives to get the hair of the skin, and as possible work with natural materials. The creation of a drum for me is a sacred process, in connection with nature, guides and drumspirits. Sometimes it will take time to find the right materials, the call of the drum to be born. This is a process that doesn’t always fit in our modern perception of time. Often it is also a process for me.

At first, it was a huge task to get to know all these aspects of drummaking. The fysical process of the creating. To get to know all the types of wood, and their bending properties. To find the right addresses, good sources for the skins. And by cleaning the skins myself, you start to get a feel for how much they will stretch, how much tension they will need for the best sound. I always tried to keep the energy neutral, so that it was open for the new guardian. And trusting on the energies of the wood, animal and crystals used. Nowadays i feel more and more the calling of certain energies that want to be connected with the drums, like in the above picture, the awakening of the conscious heart. This was born from the process i was in, connecting more and more with my heart energy. Lately i feel more and more drawn to work this way, to closely listen what is going on and translate it into a drum or rattle.

Earth goddes rattle

The above rattle made me find this small cave, what a great place to empower the feminin energy. So i feel more and more the call to take them outside, to a place they show me, to connect with the ancient energies of the earth. Blessed to live in this beautiful environment in France, the Dordogne. Where many parts of nature are still pure.

Now in these challenging times with the lock-down, lots of things keep happening in my process. I have been living quite isolated here already, but took the time to rest and energise for two weeks, to connect with what was going on, exploring more ideas and truely with renewed passion and energies for the ideas that are waiting to be brought to life.

Dreaming Drums

It must have been around the summer of 1999 that i made my first drum during a shamanic course with Maarten Bosscher/Thunderhorse and Jos Heerkens/Twobears, the drummaker, in Portugal. At first i didn’t want to join, but after meeting my drumspirit and the spirits Maarten was working was, i decided to go for it. During those weeks Jos’ and mine paths kept on crossing (literally) and we started living and later working together. We were looking for a name for the drums, so i asked the ambling fire for a name, and dreaming drums was the answer! In the beginning we thought, ok nice name, good alliteration,  and we slowly introduced it. However we learned that there was so much more to this name, the dreaming quality of the sound, the overtones, the journeying, and people also very  often dreamed of their drums. Sometimes they came to visit for a workshop to create their own drum, to discover that we already made the drum they dreamed of.

After many years we went our own way, i went to the UK, Jos went back to Holland. Very unfortunately and sadly Jos passed away last year. After that i moved from the UK to France, the Dordogne, to an old farmhouse in a gorgeous environment to be able to live the dream of making drums in connection with nature. On the land are two springs in the valley, and as often i saw Jos his eyes staring at me, there i realised he wanted to say goodbye, but also i understood a little more about the meaning of the name, it is also the bear’s quality of dreaming, living in his cave and hibernating, the quality of healing and dreaming. In this area are also lots of caves, even on the land, plenty of opportunity for meditation, drumming, connecting, healing. 

 Our move to France wasn’t without problems, they kept all our stuff for two months because of a dispute between the two moving companies, although we didn’t know that immediately. The fear of loosing all the tools, wood etc for the drummaking wasn’t the best start for our new life. And a few months later my partner had a serious stroke and is still in the process of recovering. 

The other day something strange happened though, when i came outside, in front of my workshop i found a little plastic bag, with a bear paw from Jos his black bear rug, some bear nails, but also his ceremonial necklace with a beartooth in it… I have packed, unpacked all his stuff several times, but never seen it, and there it is, outside on the floor, nearly taken away by the dogs…

It somehow feels that the circle is closing, and during the last workshop drummaking in our house, the man told me that he constantly had the feeling Jos was sitting behind him.

I really hope that we will find a new balance in our life, connect with nature and create many dreaming drums!