THE WHARTON ESHERICK MUSEUM PRIZE FOR EXCELLENCE IN WOOD
Teachers said it over and over when I pounded on desks, lockers, books: That's not a drum. But I never outgrew it. Years later at Savannah College of Art and Design, my vocal coach caught me tapping out a beat in class and handed me his djembe. Another student who worked at a techno club recruited me to play, but I still didn't own an actual drum — so I took the professor's djembe to the job. After that I started collecting percussion instruments and eventually decided to try making my own. With woodworking guidance from my dad, who builds furniture as a hobby, I sought the perfect balance between sound and aesthetics. Using a piano, I tune hard wood by making it vibrate in the correct frequency to create the notes of a scale. I then finish the drums with natural oils. While I'm making them, I sometimes keep beat at my workbench with wrenches and mallets. The way I see it, there's potential for music everywhere. And sometimes, in the most unlikely places, there is a drum.