We made a left and pulled off the pressed oil and gravel country road and gently drove the slight incline up Cedarvale Loop Road that lead to Persis’s studio. A year earlier I met her. She is a kind and talented potter who lives in the forest on the outskirts of Arlington. Our appointment was set for one. We passed the rusty coiled barb-wire fence which held a number of young apple trees, and the beginnings of an orchard. Large evergreen and deciduous trees, thick undergrowth and wild blackberry vines formed the left side of her drive as we pulled in and faced her studio. A reclaimed wood structure stood foreboding, sturdy and welcoming; broken pottery littered the entry; kiln supplies and discarded pieces in various stages of completion were stacked on open wooden shelves, forgotten.
As we got out of the car, she peered her head through the open door with a smile. I observed her familiar grey hair, glasses and charcoal denim clothes donned with chalky dust and clay, trademarks of her work.
We visited for a few minutes and her attention turned to her drums. There on her workbench lay Dried stiff animal skins and several small partially completed drums; sticks protruding. Another dozen or so larger and unique drums caught my attention as they sat safely drying on sturdy shelves against her studio wall.
We asked her about a few custom plates. She paused, “My creativity is directed toward the drums.” Pausing, she smiled and spoke softly, “I feel the large ceramic drums are almost too heavy to lug, so I am working at perfecting Rain drums–ones that can be left in the garden and play when they are hit by the Seattle rains.” I reflected the history, fascination, and popularity of the contemporary drumming circles and the primal organic musical rhythms they generated.
“Drums are the world’s oldest and most ubiquitous musical instruments, and the basic design has remained virtually unchanged for thousands of years” pens Wikipedia.
At some level they seem to talk to our cells or speak to the depth of our soul.
I owned one myself; the sounds and vibrations unique to the size, construction and materials. I took pride that mine also had been handmade, but by a native tribe member out of Bellingham. There was something special and unique about the care and personality it possessed.
We passed the rusted tin roof shed and a dark weathered board & batten exterior adored with her work. There were her rain drums. How cool! Drums to carry and play and others as interactive meaningful musical sculptures for the garden. Beautiful.
If you are interested in Persis Gayle’s African inspired ceramic rain drums, she can be reached at Frailey Mountain Art. Call 360.435.5152 or email at: firstname.lastname@example.org And, it seems may be perfect for the tropical South Florida rains as well!
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