Monday, August 21, 2006

Shake, Shake, Shake Sonora

Where's Harry Belafonte when you need him?

The shekere's are done and delivered! And best of all Mike and Whittney love them. *wipes sweat from brow*

Wait, wait, wait. I'm sure you're thinking, "What are you talking about? What's a shekere? Huh?" Let me back up.

Several months ago, two dear friends of mine asked me to make them a custom beaded shekere (pronounced shay-ker-ray) to take with them to drum circles and other similar events. A shekere is a large hollow gourd covered in a netting of beads, shells, or seeds and is used as a musical instrument. I was both honored and shocked but told them I'd love to. After I thought about it though, I felt that it would make far more sense to make them each a shekere rather than have them "fight" over one. So off I went on my interesting journey into gourd shakerland.

First to find a blasted dried gourd in early Summer, in the shape that I wanted to use. Not as easy as you'd think. I finally went with the Welburn Gourd Farm because they had good prices and a good reputation. I'm glad I did. I went with the value pack of large gourds and in a few days 4 really nice bottle gourds arrived at my door.

Next my husband asked a friend of his with a power saw to lop off the top of each gourd for me. Afterward I proceeded to clean out the dried crud inside each gourd. WARNING: Do this outside and with a particle mask on. Ack, cough, GROSS!

Then things got much easier. Two coats of shellac on the insides, two coats of tung oil on the outside. Once all was nice and dry, it was time to bead. But of course that required... BEADS.

I checked with the guys as to what they wanted to use and they both said, "NO PLASTIC!" Not a problem, what do you want. Whittney asked for Amethyst and Malachite. Mike, Malachite and Lapis Lazuli. Uhmmm guys, you're kidding right? To make my life easier I took them to Accent Beads because I knew they carried a large selection of stone beads at great prices and I wanted them to make sure they wanted to spend that much money on the beads. Of course oogling the wall-o-stone, ideas changed and they left pleased with the choices they made (Whittney still got his Amethyst though he picked a lower grade to keep cost down).

I began work, starting with my own shekere so I could get the kinks out as it were.

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I showed the guys how it came out and adjustments were made. Denser spacing, adjustment of "slop" and then I was off and running again. I enlisted the wonderful husband as I wanted to finish these both in a realistic time frame. We delivered them yesterday when we went over for dinner and though they both said they were pleased, the giddy looks on their faces convinced me I'd done a good job. What do you think?

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I've got one more full-sized shekere, the hubby's, and a smaller one from a long gourd my mom brought over to see if it was usable. These are fun if not a little time consuming unless you don't care about the spacing of the beads.

So now it's time to shake, shake, shake my shekere!


Blogger redthread said...

those are incredible! I saw Women of the Calabash perform live once -- and they would have shekere envy right now. Beautiful work.

8/22/2006 11:18 PM  
Blogger TeAntae said...

Thank you so much. These were a lot of fun. I'm tempted to tell the guys to get their shekeres insured though. Especially Whittney's! LOL.

8/23/2006 8:48 AM  
Blogger Louise said...

I love the finished product. I had no idea what they would look like. Quite beautiful, you did a fantastic job.

8/31/2006 1:57 PM  
Blogger TeAntae said...

Thanks mom! Once I get a few other projects done, I'll make one for you too. =)

8/31/2006 2:25 PM  
Blogger Mandi said...

Wow those are really cool! How did you make the netting part? Let me know if you'd be interested in doing a swap with me = )

8/31/2006 3:34 PM  

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