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Flute maker among 80-plus artists along Art Walk
Hours: 5 to 9 p.m.
Location: Businesses in Yuma's historic North End
Artists: Where to find them Friday
- Village Artists:
- North End Artists
- Historic Yuma Theatre:
- Yuma Art Center:
Yuma Fine Arts Association
- Nature's Deli:
- Mind & Body Shop:
- Aikijutso Warriors:
- Adobe Lazer Etching:
Brian Rogers, Samantha Pace
- Hidden Treasures:
- Ms Betty's Boutique:
- Skin Pen Tattoo:
- Memory Lane:
- Lutes Casino:
Bill Butler, Laurie Evans
- Basket Creations:
- Main Squeeze:
Tony Bruno, Terri Porter
- Manhattan Parlor:
- Carla Renee:
- Old Town Wine Cellar:
- Yuma Community
Theater: Ellen Cohen
- Timeless Elegance:
Jennifer Moore, Morgan Evans & Lorenzo
- Main Street Physical:
Therary Marilyn Ruben
- Gowan Company:
Employees and 'extended family'
- Light House Coffee Bar & Bistro:
Scott Jones, Holly Hendrick Jones
- Prickly Pear:
- Hard Rock:
- Consulado de Mexico:
Manuel Cuen, Rosario Silva,
Jose Paredes, Zulma Perez,
- MGM Design:
- North End Studios:
- Tomkins Pottery:
George and Neely Tomkins, Angel Luna, Bill Blomquist
- Three Sisters:
Music: Colby, Lorenzo, Larry Yanez and musicians from the Gowan Company
Bill Meyer cuts away at pieces of wood until he finds the music inside.
Raw pieces of cedar, redwood and pine enter Meyer's studio rough, bulky — and silent. But they leave his talented hands smooth, decorated and gifted with the ability to sing.
While most artists paint or sculpt, Meyer loves carving flutes.
“For me it's just the joy of taking a piece of wood — maybe even a scrap — and turning it into a beautiful-sounding instrument. That's the challenge. But it's also the thrill.”
Meyer sells his flutes online, as well as at swap meets and other community events. He also sells a kit that lets folks make their own flutes.
“I've had customers from as far away as Hawaii from the tip of Florida to Washington state, from coast to coast.”
Local folks wanting to meet Meyer won't have a hard time finding him Friday. They will only need to follow the sound of sweet music in downtown Yuma, where he'll be playing — and selling — his flutes during the annual North End Art Walk. That's when historic downtown Yuma will turn into a giant art gallery as businesses share their space with 80-some artists and musicians for an evening of fine art, music and culture (see names below).
The event is free, and organizers say they hope to see a big crowd turn out for all of the creative festivities.
“It's going to be a lovely evening to come out and stroll the historic North End to visit the businesses, talk to artists and enjoy the music,” said artist Judy Phillips. “We have so many different artistic visions in our community. I think that's just really cool.”
Meyer's flutes cost anywhere from $60 to $140, depending on the type of wood and level of ornamentation. Meyer doesn't stain his flutes. He instead uses a wood-burning tool to give his flutes added character and beauty.
Flute making stands as a great passion for Meyer, but it's a surprisingly new one. Meyer discovered his now-favorite art form three years ago. Back then he mainly painted in oils. But then he met a flute seller at a swap meet who declined to trade a painting for one of his carved creations. So Meyer went straight home and taught himself the art of making trees into instruments of music making.
“The challenge is making a flute that not only looks good but sounds good, too. I still occasionally struggle to get one that you might say is stubborn, that doesn't want to give up its beautiful sounds easily,” he said. “I haven't had one yet that I had to throw away, though. I always manage to get one to finish to my standards.”
While some flute makers simply drill the right number of finger holes, Meyer goes to great lengths to assure the musical integrity of each piece. He tests their sound by using an electronic tuning device.
The technical aspects of engineering musical instruments might seem a bit daunting to some artists, but Meyer boasts one trump-card experience in his past. He worked 35 years as an engineer for Boeing. He spent two of those years working on the B-2 Stealth bomber.
But it was a career in flute making that has finally brought together the two halves of Meyer.
“Being technical and artistic, sometimes they don't work together. It's sometimes a struggle, Being technical, I'm always trying to improve up on this or that. Now I am getting to enjoy my artistic side, too.”
Features editor Darin Fenger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6860.