When I began creating flutes, it became clear to me they needed names. It would be easier to relate with my customers when discussing and showing the various differences of each flute. Naming the flutes by key alone did not give enough character. I realized my flutes would need their own identities as well.
About the time I was searching for names for my flutes, I was spending a lot of time at a raptor bird refuge in the northern inland part of San Diego. The eagles, hawks and falcons being tended to were all rescued in some way. Some were found injured, and many were simply too young to be able to survive on their own in the wild.
As amazed as I was to be in such close proximity to these majestic yet solitary birds, I also sensed a longing in them; a sadness. It was clear they missed their freedom. I may have also been doing a bit of projecting, but I was present with a few of these beautiful birds when they were released back into the wild. Their cries were the jubilant cries of one returning to its natural habitat; their calls a true celebration as they soared towards the sky. Flight makes birds the most visible of all wildlife that surrounds us. Witnessing their presence momentarily gives us a gentle reminder of our own connection to nature. It’s easy to forget we are all an intimate part of it as well.
During my time at the Raptor Center, I became close to one of the golden eagles on the mend from an injured leg. Even though she was at the mercy of her perceived captors, she never compromised her true nature and nobility. Being in such close proximity with the raptors, I gained great respect for these majestic birds. They taught me that no matter what my plight or circumstances, I must always stay in touch with my personal integrity.
Inspired by the birds, it seemed natural to design the flutes in their image. I dedicated each specific flute key with the name of a raptor. The key of “F#” became the Golden Eagle, the key of “G” I named the Red Tail Hawk and so on. The fetish blocks, being the most dominant feature on the flutes, are my stylized interpretations and representations of each individual raptor.
While there are golden eagles and bald eagles in Patagonia, there are also an abundance of gray hawks, red-tailed hawks, peregrine falcons and sparrow hawks that I see, and experience almost daily. Much like the caged golden eagle, they serve as a reminder to check in with my inner self and be aware of the immediate beauty in the present moment.