Amazed By Arkansas: Indian Flute Maker | News
"It is soothing, and very good therapy to play them, "says Paul Pitt.
It's been 15 years since Pitt made his first wooden flute.
The Harding University art instructor became fascinated with the Indian flute he saw on a news report from Santé Fe, New Mexico -- showing a Native American playing the instrument.
Pitt explains, "And it was a piece of artwork and had such a captivating sound, I wanted to learn how to make a flute."
It took him five years to perfect the design and his methods - to learn how exacting the measurements for a musical instrument must be, and how to handle the cedar wood they come from.
"And so I slice it or rip it down the middle. And at that point I have two pieces. Then I hollow them out. And so when I hollow them out we have two chamber hollowed out on each one of them and I've just started to carve the sound hole in this one here."
The result is both a hand made traditional Native American musical instrument, and an individual work of art.
Pitt displays one of his flutes, "I have a closed end eagle carved and the inlaid turquoise stone and then all the wood burning and the very involved head, warrior head looking to the sky."
No two are the same. Each instrument has a theme - the artwork burned into the wood by freehand. Pitt uses the cracks and characteristics of the wood as the starting point for the faces and scenes that decorate the instruments.
But it's the sound that's so enchanting - perhaps even healing
Pitt tells the story, "I had a Navaho student, a full blooded Navaho who would come in and borrow one of my flutes and go play it for a little while. And he would feel better. He was using it for therapy and make him feel good."
Pitt says it can take several weeks to complete one of his flutes - depending on the amount of artwork - or the size of the instrument.
He hopes they bring great peace to those who hear their mystical sounds.
To me, He says, "They're sculptures that sing. That's what captures my imagination."
The work of this Natural State artist will leave you Amazed by Arkansas. View Paul Pitt's flutes here.