Friday, November 6, 2015

Quilted items are not all quilts

Moving my camping gear to make room in the storage area under the eaves, I came across my little drum. Since it should be stored upright, I had made it a carrying bag that could be hung along the east wall. Now that bag is getting faded but still protecting the drum....

The drum is used for ceremonial purposes in my position in the Order of the Arrow, Boy Scout's National Honor Society. This organization  follows native American traditions and not being able to get a drum here in Tokyo, I decided to make one. Here it sits on the step tansu beside its bag.

The star contains the colors representing the four directions.

When I made this drum we were living in a large western style home in the "Tokugawa Village", a small community of homes built on a property owned by a branch of the Tokugawa family.

The house was large enough for our family of 8 and had a lovely garden,
shady with large trees and a flagstone patio.
I used a round wooden container as the base.

Recently I came across a notebook in which I had recorded the making of this drum and thought I would share it here ... as I have little progress on other projects to show ... other than cutting scraps into various tins for future use.

The round moon sails over the wide plains.
A red cow lows to her dozing calf,

Tonight my mother's hide
gives voice to the drum.

The round moon shines on a distant shore.
Over the crest of a wooded hill
the Cypress grove whispers

Shh... Hear the voice of the drum.

High above a city garden
the Camellia rustles her shiny leaves
under the round moon.   I gave my topmost branch to waken the drum.

I watched as the frame was prepared.
The hide soaked in my shade.
The skin was stretched at my feet and dried at my side.

Now I wait to hear it's voice.
Listen, round moon, to the round round drum.

The world is falling asleep, still the drum maker waits.
What is the song my drum will sing, here beneath the round moon?

It is the dance of little ones.
The gekko on the wall, the spider under the leaves, the mosquito wigglers in the watering can.

The silkworms stop their munching to listen. The round moon sings to the voice of the drum.

Hush, you world and listen.
All nature dances to the pulse of the drum.
We are all one and this is our song,
Here, under the round round moon.

We are one with the wide plain and the lowing cattle.

We are one with the Hinoki forest.

We are one with the city garden sleeping under the round round moon.

Hush, and hear my voice.

The lining of the bag is red and when I turned it inside out you can see the birds and arrow quilted into the side, one of the symbols of the Order. Quilted up the other side is "Mechmawikenk Gischihan", which is my Vigil name in the language of the Leni Lenape indians. It means "Camper who creates with her hands"
The turtle on the reverse side of the bag is also one of the tribal symbols.

Today I spent time at our group meeting measuring and marking scraps for my three and four inch tins. I am thinking of putting together some kind of quilted envelope to carry my new laptop ... just in case I need to take it  where someone can help me sort out where to find things. I am still using my cell phone to move email into folders because I just can't find how to do it on my laptop. I also would like to get my pictures sorted into folders, making them easier to find rather than scrolling through several thousand.

Hope you have a nice weekend. I think we have showers headed our way, though today was sunny and quite pleasant.


  1. you are true to your name and are a truly creative person x

  2. What a beautiful drum, drum case and story! You are so talented, Julie!

  3. Beautiful drum case - and I love the way you recorded your journey. Wonderful post.

  4. What a beautiful story, love those words. A new case for your new laptop, great idea, I guess it isn't as heavy as the older ones, and so portable.

  5. What a beautiful post - I treasure these words when our world is so troubled - Mary

  6. That is a beautiful story about your drum and the meaning behind it.
    I like how you made the case too. I decided to try playing the flute and need to make a case for it. I haven't been able to practice with the cold, so need to start practicing my breath exercises too, love the sound of the flute, now if i can get better at it and stop hitting bad notes;)


  7. You made a drum! That's amazing. What can you not do?? I love all the quilting design and that story. Beautiful, Julie!

  8. Julie,
    We love your drum bag and your beautiful, very evocative poem, which reads like magnificent haiku. The turtle and the bolts of lightning are wonderful. Thank you for explaining the rich meanings of this work. Your blog is always a day brightener ! Blessings, from Marina and Daryl

  9. How fascinating! I always love reading your posts! blessings, marlene