Patrick’s Drum Making Process (Written Version)

(Check out Patrick’s videos on drum making)

Each drum I make begins with smudging.   First, I smudge myself, the hoop, and then the hide.

I make drums prayerfully.  I become the hollow bone, blending the fire, water, earth, and air into the drum.  I breathe.  I inspire myself and open to the mystery of this particular drum.  As I make the drum, I am with my creative forces …owning my own divinity as a spiritual being that is consciously creating something sacred with my hands.  I am congruent with mind, body, spirit, and emotions.  I am working with the tree, the animal, and the spirits of those brothers and sisters.  I am working with the oversoul of the deer people or whichever hide I am working with.  I am working with the devas of the cedar tree, praying for the medicine and intelligence of those silent ones whose wisdom is available through my prayer.


In a two-year study of Native American ways with sixteen other men, I birthed my first drum.  Some of these men were full blood Native and most were mixed-bloods like myself.  An Osage man was my teacher.  He told me that all of my blocks would emerge while making a drum,  issues like “perfectionism”, “fear,”, “judgments” and that when I attached to these, my breath would stop.  I encourage those who make drums with me to breathe and stay in the heart space.   The opposite is also true – if I am impatient, angry, sad or afraid, the drum will carry this energy.  Drum making gives us the opportunity to go through many issues and heal those places in us that forgot we are spiritual beings in a human experience.


One of my first lessons in drum making was that of releasing my perfectionism. I was taught that all trees are perfect, and none are perfectly symmetrical. My teachers drums were never perfectly round and were more natural. He also never avoided a hole in a drum. The holes represent the wound, and how the wound heals is to go into the pain and allow the tears to flow, thus the term the “wounded healer”. If your drum has a hole in the skin, it in no way is weak or defective. If you place your hand over the hole and drum, the vibration goes through the hole. My teacher said “don’t you have holes in you?”  Many customers specifically ask for a hole in the drum as a reminder… to go through our pain – only in doing so can we access the true joy vibration.


By the grace of my Creator, I have never lost the magic and mystery of creating drums. Each one is unique.  I never make the same drum twice. The drums I create are sacred.  I love creating these drums, and each one I have made has been my teacher.  I was taught the spirits come in on the vibrations of the drum and the songs we sing.  I have also learned that I am sacred and that in order to hold anything sacred I first have to reclaim my own divinity.

This teaching is simple and profound, that I/you/we are spiritual beings in a human experience.

As I act from a deep place of sacredness, that which I create is also sacred.

Your drum, when made from the heart space, will be a true friend.  The heart is our love and wisdom.  The heart is patient, and tolerant and reminds me of the abundance and interconnectedness of life.  I was told that spirit comes in on the vibrations of the drum.  Drumming awakens the emotional body, touching us at a deep level, reminding us of the heartbeat that we all heard when we came from spirit to form.  My heartbeat, my mother’s heartbeat…two hearts beating as one.

As I have “birthed” thousands of drums, each one is new, alive and vibrant with the voice remaining a mystery until this birth happens.

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