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NATIVE AMERICAN FLUTE FORUM
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Spirit of a Flute Maker: A Conversation with Scott Loomis
By John Sarantos
 
Originally Published in "Voice of the Wind", April 1999
 
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  Spirit of a Flute Maker: A Conversation with Scott Loomis
  Page #3 of 7

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     John: Sitting here in your shop I feel an incredible amount of energy. I am feeling ideas coming to me that I hadn't thought about talking about. I feel your gentle spirit all around the shop.

     Scott: What we've been talking about is what the maker brings to his work. Whenever I come into the shop, I ask for and prepare myself. I ask for permission, ask for help and prepare myself for that day's work. Because I feel strongly that the maker's spirit goes into the flute, is carried with the flute, I have an obligation to the customer, to the flute; to be in a right mind when I am performing my work; when I am making these flutes. And so I prepare myself everyday before I come into the shop. If negative things come into my mind while I am working, I try to get rid of those negative things because I don't want any negative energy going into any of these flutes. And so I try to get rid of that, by thinking of the good things that come out of this, out of my work. And if I can't stop that from rattling around in my brain, I turn out the lights and I close the door. And I don't come back into the shop until that positive mind set is back. I am not just saying this, this is what I do, and I think that is projected in my work. This is the way I have been my whole life. That's why I think I can't work for somebody else.
     That's why I say on my web site about these fancy flutes, that I don't normally work with somebody else's vision.
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     John: Mind set wise, then it becomes their flute and not yours. And that you're just making something to someone else's specifications, so that the spirit isn't totally there. It's not yours, it's somebody else's.  They should make their own flute if they want the spirit to be theirs.

     Scott: If they feel strongly about it, yes. I mean, I can work in other people's vision as long as they don't put too many parameters on it. And I've done that before like with the White Buffalo flute I made for Tim Crawford because his vision was so strong that I identified with it and therefore was able to do something with it. But he also didn't put any parameters. He said "This is my vision; can you make a flute?"
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     John: He didn't give you a detailed sketch of what he wanted?

     Scott: No, no. He said he would like it to be white. (Laughter from both of us)
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     John: I imagine that with your strong mind set about not working with negative thoughts in your mind, that it must be hard for you to come to work on some days.

     Scott: Sometimes it makes it tough. I had a falling out with a very close friend, and I couldn't figure out why it happened. It just tore me up inside. And it just spiraled. I couldn't come into the shop and work because I just couldn't get rid of it.  But it is important to work.
     Saggio sent me a letter.  I have it right there on my door. This flute, this instrument completely changed his life. So as a flute maker I have a responsibility to do this right because it is a life-changing thing. I hope this doesn't come out hokey.
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     John: No, the Native American flute has been a bridge for a lot of people, a connection for a lot of people to who they are. It has tapped into things that maybe they have suppressed about themselves. It not only brings out their inner voice, but it also gets a person thinking about life, that maybe there is more to life then just going through a daily routine.

     Scott: It is the first time for many to really express themselves in a personal way. And I think that is really important to people. Like you said, we have been suppressing that self-expression for way too long.  Everybody has music. There is no getting around it. Our heart beat is a rhythm. We were born with a rhythm. We grew in our mother's womb with a rhythm all around us. And for us to deny that inner music, that inner rhythm is really a shame. And this instrument because it is so easy to play is releasing a lot of that inner expression, that inner music of people. That is what happened to Saggio, and I use it as an inspiration because of it. And again, I can't stress the point enough that I have a responsibility to make this flute right.
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Copyright 1999 John Sarantos
Updated April 18, 1999 by LH
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