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I first became involved with the Native American Flute while attending Oregon State University in 2005. A class was offered that was called “Intro to the Native American Flute” by Jan Michael Looking Wolf. I grew up in Argentina, and have always been a fan of Andean Music; particularly the wind instruments such as the Quena (traditional flute of the Andes), and the Zampoñas (traditional Andean Pan Pipe). With that background, I was curious what the class would be like and what I would get out of it.

During the class, we had a guest speaker by the name of Gary Kuhl who is an amazing flute maker, and who shared with us his talents and knowledge. I was able to stop by his house, and with his help I made my first Native American Style flute.

Since then I’ve made several flutes out of wood, but while researching more on this fascinating instrument, I came across a paragraph stating that the “Cherokees used sunflower stalks to make their flutes.” I experimented with that idea, and have been very successful in making a number of sunflower flutes. My newest endeavor has been to make flutes out of Indian Corn stalks after finding a rather large corn stalk growing in my Grandfathers garden, but have only been able to make two so far because of the poor quality of the stalks that I had gathered. However, I’ve been researching many types of corn, and hope on making many more in the near future if the new type of corn plants do pan out.

I usually don’t try to limit my self to just one thing, I like to experiment and try new things. I also make a variety of Ocarinas and Thunder Gourds that any one can play and enjoy. Typically I’m pretty busy with my full time job as a High School Counselor, my family and church, but any little chance I get, I’ll go into my shop and continue any unfinished projects and experiment with new ones. Being involved in the Native American Flute community has been amazing, and now I'm becoming more involved with the gourd community as well.  I’ve made many friends, and meet many more every year. I’m eager to share my talents with others as well as learn from any of you.  

Thank your for visiting my site, and feel free to email me anytime. 

Ron Swank

sunflowerflutes@yahoo.com