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PH: 250-842-0216
FAX: 250-842-2219

P.O. Box 418
Hazelton, BC
V0J 1Y0

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Hummingbird design by Marie Smith

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Drumstick Workshop

One of the drumsticks made during the workshop

The 'Drumstick' workshop was fun and our participants enjoyed working with and learning from our local Gitxsan artists. This project was very amusing as it became evident that many of the students have never held a needle much less threaded one. Once the base drumsticks were prepared the students received an introduction to working with acrylics, taking proper care of the brushes and simple painting techniques. The gradient wash technique with solid painting overlay was very popular as many of the students chose to use this method on their drumsticks. Additionally, the Gitxsan art design instruction was inspirational as we learned the fundamentals of Gitxsan art design - how to draw ovoid's and basic fillers; and the features that identify the wolf, frog, eagle and killerwhale clans.

Jessica is working on her drumstickDuring these workshops, the students worked closely with the artists and an interesting facet of watching the student-artist relationship was the level of respect our students displayed during the workshops. Some of the students were quite interested in how the artists learned to do art and how they began their training. The artists were generous in their answers and seemed to startle the students by saying that they began their arts training by sketching and doing projects such as the drumsticks and rawhide rattle projects. Gitxsan artist Arlene Ness demonstrated simple sketching and the students were awed to see a drawing come to life.

In conclusion, the students created beautiful drumsticks and we are aware that many of the youth gave these as gifts to loved ones. Moreover, this project was so well received that we continue to receive feedback from the drumstick recipients who have stopped us in public to give positive comments or enquire further about the drumstick workshop.

The steps to making a drumstick are:

  1. Prepare the maple handle by boiling, peeling and sanding. Elder Bill Green advised that we should boil the maple sticks first as this will make the bark easier to peel - and make the wood stronger.
  2. Once the handle is ready wrap one end of the maple with padding and over this padding, snugly sew on the drum head leather.
  3. Begin embellishing your drumstick with painting, leatherwork, beading, etc.

If you are interested in a 'Drumstick' class, sign up for our workshop using the application form. Please ensure that you fill out all required information.

A picture of Totem Carving

Once enough applications are received then we will schedule a "Drumstick-making" workshop.