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Medicine Drum Making in a Sacred Way

  • 2424 Wallingwood Drive Austin, TX, 78746 United States (map)

The making of drums for the purpose of Shamanic work has been done for centuries. Making the drum with proper intent and integrity is necessary when bringing such a wonderful ally and tool into this world.

This workshop is being offered as a joint event by Jason Traweek with Spirit Lab and Nate Long with Blue Eye Art and with the support of the Shamanic Community of Austin.

A $75 class fee is being asked in addition to the cost of the drum kits. To secure your spot, please 1) RSVP through the Facebook event and 2) make payment to Nate Long. Please paypal to: or arrange for other payment options..

There will be a limit of 20 attendees for this class, so register soon (a waitlist will be started if needed).

Each attendee will need to order their drum kit online, to have delivered before March 16th. We suggest allowing a week for delivery, so order before March 9. You will be responsible for ordering your kits online at:

or from other online suppliers (we recommend these sites because they seem to treat their products with respect).

Please make sure you order well in advance so they arrive a couple days before class (you will need to soak the hide at least 4 hours, no more than 12, just before coming to class (length of time to soak is dependent on type of skin you choose to work with).

Drum kits will range in cost between $80 and $180 depending on size and type of rawhide. You can contact either Nate or Jason directly if you have questions about what to order. (please note that you will be responsible for ordering your own drum kit and having it delivered to you to bring to the class).

A highly recommended Blessing and Awakening Ceremony will be held on Wednesday, March  21st at 8:00pm. Additional information will be provided to those who attend the Drum Making class.

What to Bring to the Workshop

  • Your drum making materials that you purchased ahead of time. See the next section for guidance / suggestions on what to get.
  • A towel or two to put your drum on while you are working on it
  • Tools for your work. We will have some, but we recommend that you bring what tools you can so you don't have to wait on them. Suggestions include:
    • needle nose pliers
    • hole punching tools (if the hide does not come pre-punched)
    • a knife and/or scissors
    • a  sharpie
  • A bottle of water and snacks. You may consider bringing food to share with the group.
  • Prayers and intentions for your drum. What purpose(s) do you envision for your new drum?

What kind of drum would you like to make?

There are several sites where you can order medicine drum making kits. Again, we recommend  or because they seem to treat their products with respect, but the choice is yours on where to buy. Just make sure that the source has some integrity, since that energy will be part of your drum. Also, note that some vendors pre-punch holes in the hide, while some do not. That is a nice option to have, if available.

* Size
Sizes range from 10 – 20 inches. Smaller drums keep their tone better but are less resonant, while larger drums have a bigger, more resonant sound but can go flat much easier in humid conditions. Wider hoops carry resonance a little better as well, but will make for a heavier drum. Also, depending on how much you plan on traveling with your drum, a smaller drum is much easier to carry around with you, while a larger one may want to stay home. A medium sized drum (12 – 16 inches) is therefore recommended for your first all-around drum.

* Skin
The kind of hide that you use also makes a big difference to the sound and the climate resilience of the drum. Thicker hides are not as easily affected by the weather but tend to be less resonant, while thinner hides sound great but don’t like humidity. Deer hides are on the thinner side, while cow, buffalo and moose hides are much thicker. Horse and elk hides fall somewhere in the middle.

* The medicine
In addition to all of these technical qualities, be sure to pay attention to the medicine that each animal and type of tree offer, as they have influence over your final product as well. Here’s a link to more information on that.

* Beater
Don’t forget the beater! You can order a beater kit or make your own.


Earlier Event: March 6
March Spirit Lab Dance Gathering
Later Event: March 26
March Medicine Dance