The Ladybug Native American Styled Flute wood burning

This is just a quick blog about the Ladybug Native American styled flute we did recently for a co-worker who commissioned this flute for his daughter.  The little girl, Allison, is 7 and loves ladybugs and elephants.  Todd crafted the flute out of maple and I did the pyrography on it. 

I did not keep track of the time I spent on this one, but would estimate it was around 3-4 hours.  The flute was awkward to burn on and I was often bent over the thing.    

Todd has created a number of flutes, but I have only wood burned on one of them prior to this project.  The prior flute has deer on it and I had this “brilliant” idea to have deer tracks wandering around the flute.  What I didn’t think about was how the tracks would end up looking like dark fingering holes on the flute.  I ended up hating how it turned out.  

Deer / Elk flute




Flower placement

On this flute, I knew ladybugs were the central theme, but I immediately envisioned daisy flowers with tiny ladybugs on them.  Plus the flowers would be arranged so that the dark centers were actually the finger holes on the flute.  I knew I didn’t want to repeat the mistake I made on the deer flute, so this flower arrangement would prevent that. 


While I was sketching out the flowers on the flute I kept running into the problem of keeping the petals similar in length.  For me it was really tough to sketch out the flowers on the round surface, so I ended up drawing a flower on a piece of thin paper and used that as my pattern for the flute. 

Finger hole close up

I ended up with 9 flowers on the flute.  Six of them are found along the finger holes and the other three are placed randomly around the flute.






flower close up

I kept the six finger hole flowers very light in color as I wanted the fingering holes to be predominate, but the other three I was able to darken up.  Creating the flowers was a process of using the writing pen tip to burn the petal outlines and toning them with the shading pen tip.   





Dark flower close up

I like how the flowers turned out and each one took around 15 minutes to do.  







All of the ladybugs started out the same way as a pencil circle sketched onto the flute.   For the tiny ladybugs I used the writing pen tip to fill in the circle and create the dots, but I used the needle point pen tip to create the head, antenna, and any legs.   

The large ladybugs, on the other hand, were big enough that I could use the shading pen tip to fill in the ‘red’ portion of the body.  I used the writing tip to create the head and legs and used a medium ball tip to create the dots.  Each ladybug took me around 5 minutes to create. 

After I finished burning the flute, Todd applied many coats of lacquer to seal it.  He also carved the fetish, in the shape of an elephant, to cover the wind chamber.  The wind chamber splits the air creating sound and the finger holes allow you to finger different notes.

Large ladybug close up

It takes Todd around 10 hours to create a flute and 1-2 hours to carve the fetish.   Each flute is tuned to a specific key that is determined by the flute length, bore diameter, and finger hole placement.  The type of wood will also change the sound; softer woods produce a more mellow tone and a harder wood produces a brighter tone. 





Ladybug size comparison

This photo shows a large ladybug near a small one (on the flower petal).






Elephant Fetish

Close up of the elephant fetish Todd carved.  The fetish covers the sound hole







The ladybug flute is 22 ¼” long, 1 1/16” diameter, tuned to the key of A, and is made out of maple.  


That’s it for this blog.  I did say it was going to be a quick one.   Just wanted to share the pyrography project I’ve been working on this past week.


Mar 13, 2016 


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