“If you want to know the meaning of life….Creativity is the low hanging fruit, even if all you create is morning coffee with your special recipe of Folgers, Maxwell House, and a little cinnamon.” Bruce DeBoer.

“Skill without imagination is craftsmanship, but skill with imagination, is art” Home improvement flyer I found in my driveway. Cute.

Notwithstanding a one day flute event at the end of November, my traveling road show is over. Yosemite was great in that I got to hang out with a lot of my favorite artisans, and meet new ones too. One was Dwight Lind, of Quiet Bear flutes. He’s almost as crazy as I am, but …older. He takes over 200 flutes to these events and tries to leave with none. I take 20 and try not to leave with 23. I ended up swapping one of my flutes to Dwight Lind, and since John Kulias (Meadowlark Flutes) was there, I ended up buying yet another of his ceramic flutes, and I’ll tell you why. The group of folks I perform with make a LOT of noise, tough competition for anybody’s wooden flute. John builds a ceramic flute that will take the paint off the side of a house. They’re REALLY LOUD. They’re beautiful too; you can just never drop them.

As with most first year festivals, there was not enough intelligently directed advertising to generate the foot traffic we had hoped for. I volunteered to throw a spike strip across Hwy 41 and try and snag a tour bus headed into Yosemite but the season was about over, and the buses were few and far between, plus I was getting low on spike strips. It is however a great event, and if invited, I’ll be back next year.

The site of my next event, five days after Yosemite, was the Manhattan Beach Hometown Fair. Manhattan Beach has the distinction of being a city with some of the most expensive residential real estate in the United States. It is NOT however, the demographic motherlode for NA style flute sales. With over 200 vendors, I found myself competing with embroidered baby dribble bibs, rhinestone dog collars, and wind chimes made from pop bottles. As the only flute vendor, I had folks wandering over, thinking I was selling firearms, or bongs, or both. I had couples coming over asking if I would play a little something to stop their infants from screaming. I could go on and on, and write a whole blog about this event, but I won’t. However, if you EVER see me participating in another generalized “arts and crafts” fair again, don’t come up and say Hi….instead, go back out to your car, root around in your glove box or under your seat, and find your gun. Then come back with it, and shoot me in the head.

I realize that during the two weeks I was on the road peddling flutes, your savings, stocks, and 401k accounts were vanishing into thin air. The economic perfect storm we are experiencing, fueled by greedy and imperfect people, is virtually unprecedented. We are experiencing the lowest level of consumer spending since 1980. I’ll be lowering the prices of flutes yet again for the Christmas season, and at the same time realize a lot of folks don’t need a flute, and won’t care….they need food, firewood, and a prayer. I’ll be doing my best to help out with all three for those folks too.

Switching gears for a moment, I recently built a custom flute for a client, and she requested dished, or slightly cupped finger holes. I had suspended this practice about two years ago, on the advice of a couple of entertainers who play my flutes. They had mentioned the cupping limited their creative latitude in playing the instrument. I don’t even know what that means, but they play these instruments far better than I do. Since that time, I’ve received feedback from a number of folks, particularly those who have collected my flutes over the years, suggesting they miss this feature. Since I sell far more flutes to enthusiasts than performers, some flutes will again have SLIGHTLY indented finger holes, in an effort to strike a happy medium. I’ll indicate both in photos and text which flutes have received this treatment.OK then… hope you had a great Halloween. ….. I don’t believe I’ve ever hoped, or said that before. Ever.