The drums that I keep in stock are Remo hand drums that are fourteen inches in diameter. These are factory-built using a hoop of very strong plywood and a head made of offwhite mylar, which is backed by a thick sheet of plastic. Due to the way that the head is assembled, the surface will show streaks and fibers of varying degrees of transparency. Because they were originally intended to be hand drums, there is a smooth notch in the hoop that allows you to hold it better while playing it. Because of this notch, and because of the drums' light weight, it's very easy to play while standing, walking, etc. One thing that we've noticed is that this particular type of drum has a flatter sound in the center; the sound is therefore richer in the areas closer to the rim.
In order to best protect the paint, I provide handmade drumsticks with each piece. These have large heads, made of imitation fur or wool, that are packed with plush stuffing. Pine branches are used for the sticks themselves and leather lace is glued to the wood to make a grip. (Note that the lace may be in danger of loosening if left in high temperatures for too long, since hot glue is used to attach it. This can also be used to re-wrap or repair the grip in other circumstances.) I chose to encourage the use of drumsticks instead of hands due to the danger of long nails, jewelry, cuff buttons, and other hard objects scratching the paint during use. Each drum is equipped with a leather loop near the finger notch to hold its stick; please be aware that this loop is not intended to be used for holding the drum or hanging it on walls.
I use acrylic craft paint to produce my artwork. This is available in a wide variety of colors--in time, I hope to provide links to pages that give color swatches of the brands that I use the most. My art style varies between "tribal" shapes (commonly used in monochrome pieces) and bold areas of flat color (more common on multicolor pieces). Because of this, I generally do not use gradients, nor can I perfectly copy photographs or other instances of blended color. Please refer to my Gallery for examples of my style.
For added durability, each finished painting is sprayed with several coats of clear, matte-finish acrylic varnish. Despite this, the art is not invincible and can still be damaged by hard or sharp objects.
I would recommend the purchase of a piece of thick, soft cloth, especially fleece or artificial fur/wool, to wrap the drum in when it is not in use. If you need to have your hands free while transporting the drum, bags are available from music stores and drum stores to carry them in--just be sure to buy one that is large enough to carry the drum plus its cloth wrapping.
Crow's Voice was created in early 2003, and consists of one artist and a very helpful mother. :) It was formed in response to a shamanic journey performed by my instructor, which suggested that I should use my skills to paint drums for other people. Currently, I am working out of my home and therefore don't have many business-oriented widgets set up (though I am looking into accepting payments via PayPal). :P
The goal of Crow's Voice is to provide customized or otherwise unique and interesting drums for the shamanic community and other groups which might have need of them. Previously, I had observed that most people who wanted a drum had to settle for very expensive ones that were handmade out of wood and animal hide; these were generally priced at over $100 for a very plain piece. In addition to this, such drums would go out of tune if they were taken to different elevations or climates, and would have to be soaked and re-stretched in order to correct the sound.
The Remo drums, while not being made by hand from natural components, do not go out of tune and are built to be tough. Because they're so much cheaper than hide drums and never have to be soaked and stretched, I'm able to provide fully painted drums to my customers at less than the price of a simple hide drum.
I've had an artistic bent for most of my life. In addition to the acrylic painting seen on these drums, I have also worked with watercolors, ink and ballpoint, graphite pencil, and digital art. I'm a certified print and web designer (though I like extremely simple designs, you can tell ;)), and parts of my design portfolio can be seen at Berzerk Image. I also have training in Cisco networking, though I've decided not to go into that line of work. Currently, I'm working full-time as a bank teller.
I've been studying various metaphysical and religious systems for a few years now, but have not specialized in anything in particular. I've been trained in basic shamanic journeying through Michael Harner's core-shamanism method, and my current area of interest is the work of Theun Mares and the Toltec Path.
I can be contacted by phone at (941) 359-9102 or by email at ebondrake [at] hotmail [dot] com.
All text and images on this page are copyright 2003 to J.M.Bondzeleske and are protected by federal law. Questions and comments may be sent to ebondrake at hotmail dot com.