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Link Finds the Relic

Pocket Ocarina lets you play like Link wherever you go!

Today I was thinking about all the things that have inspired me as a flute maker.  The most influential people would have to be my High School Ceramics teachers Suzi Gonzales and Brian Jensen.  Brian gave me a sheet on how to make whistles out of clay and I was mesmerized! Suzi put up with loud shrieking sounds as I added some kind of whistle or flute to every assignment for three years.

I have to give credit where credit is due: Link the main playable character in the Nintendo game Zelda was a huge inspiration.  I had a friend that said I should make an ocarina like the one in Zelda: Ocarina of Time which I proceeded to do.

I also had the Gameboy game Zelda: Links Awakening which was an intense game that incorporated all sorts of instruments.  Link always carried an ocarina in his gear to play tunes on that would carry him to certain places depending on the tune.  It was also pivotal in completing the game because Link used the ocarina to wake the windfish after all the nightmares had been destroyed.

So, yes the Nintendo Zelda games have been very influential in the creation of Wowflutes.  So I have included a short little animation with a song from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Lost Woods) played in the background on the Relic Wowflute.  Just learned this song today!

Link Finds the Relic!

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Jump off the Cliff already


“Jump off the cliff, and build your wings on the way down.” – Ray Bradbury

This morning I came across this quote by Ray Bradbury.  I have read many of his books but I have never heard this saying of his.  I completely agree with it.  There is no good time to start until you start.  Jumping off a cliff is a great metaphor because it is something that we as humans have an innate fear of.  I remember my first time repelling as a boy scout.  The anticipation of the repel was the worst.  Hiking up around the backside of the hill knowing that I would be dangling 60-80 feet in the air was exciting, exhilarating, and terrifying at the same time.  I was with experienced individuals that knew what they were doing but they were not the one making the decisions as they told me to put my back to the edge of the cliff and lean out into the void nothingness.  My heart skipped and thumped wildly at the prospect of depending on a small rounded nylon cord for my life and enjoyment.

At the edge of the cliff, the fears come flowing all at once – everything you have ever been told about falling to your death, screams squelched inside.  Then you take that leap of faith and lean into the strength of the rope and become horizontal with the wall of the cliff.  It’s an amazing experience.  The cliff wall then becomes your stomping ground.  Once you have breached the threshold all the fear dissipates.  The fear wasn’t real, it was just there to stop you from acting.  Now that you have done it the fear has failed in it’s purpose to hold you back.

I am in no way suggesting you jump off the cliff without a thorough knowledge and understanding of the pros and cons.  But in reality, one learns the most through doing.  Jump off the cliff, and build your wings on the way down.  We all are at different points in our life, and I think we reach many cliff edges all the time.  Mini fears that keep us from achieving awesomeness.  I would say eighty percent of the time people shirk because of the fear.  The mere twenty percent that take the plunge find out they weren’t at all prepared, but they are better for doing it.

I was never prepared to leave a good paying job to pursue my desires of making my ideas and ideals a reality.  I was never prepared to have to depend on others so much.  I was never prepared to jump off the cliff, and I don’t think anyone is.  But the reality of knowing what I know now and being what I am now has convinced me that I will jump every time in a split second.

Become a backer of my Kickstarter – The Relic Wowflute today!

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Playing the Relic in the Desert

Selfie in the Desert

My family and I took a trip down to Mesa, AZ to visit family and we had a blast!  We always drive straight through but this time we took a few days to travel down.  With Four kiddos, five and under, long trips seem to be longer.  We have to stop for potty breaks, diaper changes, and snacks.

The Relic goes everywhere with me!

Fortunately many of those stops entailed beautiful desert vistas including the 54 miles along US Route 93 northwest of Phoenix between the historic mining town of Wickenburg and the tiny town of Wikieup.  Here the Joshua Forest Scenic Parkway crosses the blurred boundary between the Sonoran and Mojave deserts in western Arizona.

I played the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly on the Relic Wowflute and got a few crazy pictures! We also stopped by the famous Nothing, AZ which is now something – they have installed a large cell-tower just behind the landmark, dilapidated Nothing sign.

Thanks to all our backers so far for sharing our project! We are now almost 50% funded with ten days to go!  I am confident that We can get this project funded and I can get to making some awesome Relic Wowflutes!

Nothing, AZ is Something Now

Joshua Forest Scenery

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Don’t Become a Chunky Prairie Dog

My wife and I had the opportunity to visit The Sonoran Desert Museum in Tuscon, AZ a few years back.  While there we came across the Prairie Dog “exhibit”.

It was hilarious, we had a good laugh while we took these pictures.  The holes in the ground for their dens were massive, and I am sure they didn’t do the digging as their paws looked useless with curled claws…  What we took from this was that yes, their life was easy – but was it?  In actuality it was probably very hard for them to be in that environment.  Nothing to do but eat, sleep, and sit there.  They weren’t happy.  They weren’t empowered to create for themselves because they were in bondage – not free to create their surroundings and defend their burrows that they worked especially hard at.

I think much happiness and fulfillment comes from an ability to accomplish a task and create something useful.  Bringing a product to market takes much creativity and once accomplished brings much fulfillment and happiness to not only the creators but all those who benefit from its use in their lives.

My wife and I have been thinking a lot lately on what makes a product and brand popular (maybe more me!).  I have studied many examples including Walt Disney and Apple and the creative abilities of Steve Jobs and Walt Disney.

One of the main reasons their products were so successful is because they were trained towards optimism and looking at failure as opportunities.  When they hit walls, whether it be financial or otherwise, rather than stopping, they found a way over, under, through, or around with creativity.

Being human is also having the innate desire and ability to create.  Creativity as defined by is “The ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, originality, progressiveness, or imagination.”

I think creativity hits the target for both Walt Disney and Steve Jobs.  The word create means to cause to come into being, as something unique that would not naturally evolve or that is not made by ordinary processes.

Our goal and the “Why” here at Wowflutes is to instill and inspire others to create!  By creating a simple product, the Wowflute, that can be carried anywhere, and is easily played with a unique, simplified, fingering method, one can create music wherever they may be.

You, our customer will be inspired to not only create music but to look at your own ability to create and bring about ways to conquer the walls placed in your path.  That is what we are striving for.  To awaken those who are sleeping giants – the next Steve Jobs or Walt Disney could be you!

Anyways, those are our rambling thoughts for today.  Have a great day and find something to create!

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Cleverness of the Musician!

Creativity needs to be applied in how and where we play our instruments as well as the sounds!

I think the Musician Leonhard Paul has achieved this feat and gone beyond!  I was perusing through The Ocarina Network and found a link to this video.  I think that being a musician in the age of YouTube and social sharing requires humor to be involved.  Humor shows a level of cleverness that people recognize and want.  The word Clever means showing inventiveness and originality.  I think that describes this short act exactly.

So think outside the box and add a bit of cleverness to whatever you do.  This is easier said than done, but if it is your passion that you apply it to it will be easy.  I have strived for this within my own studio Wowflute Designs – I create clever and creative ocarinas!  Many times when I am selling my small wowflutes or deomnstrating them I get the saying “well, that’s clever” or “Wow.”  I decided since I hear these words so much that I should use them in my marketing strategies.  I have applied both to the name of my business and our tagline and it has made a world of difference.  Cleverness when applied correctly will keep you customer involved and interested – even if it is just for a short period of time.


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Action – Go Do It – Go To It – Get it Done

Action at the Tuacahn

Today on my drive to the Tuacahn I had a bunch on my mind.  The sunrise was a great sight and I decided I want to see more of those.  I guess ever since I heard the saying “The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese…”, I felt that maybe getting up early and being early doesn’t always pay.  But I think the second mouse is the exception.  I have accomplished a lot in my life because I decided to take action and do immediately, rather than wait and see.  Sometimes it can seem impulsive, but when I get inspiration to do something I do it, I take action.   I have learned that when I act quickly, good things happen.  “Procrastinate Later” – I read that on a bumper sticker when I was a kid and it has just stuck with me.  If you are not going to take action at least put-off procrastination.
My family and I were supposed to head out of town down to see family in Mesa, AZ on Wednesday but I just didn’t feel right about going at the last minute and my wife and I decided to leave after the Saturday Tuacahn sales.  We took action.
This morning I nearly sold out of my Swirl Wowflutes at the Tuacahn Saturday Market. The Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George brought in lots of new visitors and the Tuacahn must’ve done some heavy advertising because it was packed!  The weather was perfect and I had a new marketing strategy to implement.  It was busy from start to finish.
I reflected on how I almost missed my personal best sales day at the Tuacahn if I hadn’t chosen to stick around for the market and take action. I believe that God inspired us in small ways and promptings, the more I listen and do the easier it gets to hear and listen.

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NYC Wowflute Story – One of Many




I woke up from the dream super excited and ready to face the noise and frustration of the New York City subway system. Then I remembered that I was still in Yorktown, New York working in the small town of Peekskill that bordered the Hudson. My dream was so vivid, it was like I was actually there. The subtle squeaking sounds as the subway rocked back and forth on the tracks, the rushing wind of close walls that solidified the illusion of speed. The smells of strong perfume that kept the other raunchy smells at bay, but one could still sense them. The details of the lighting were bright, too bright for being deep under the city. The shifty movements of people trying to look comfortable but still cramped and annoyed was amusing. We were about to break the silence with a song. My friend with me was the only missionary that would ever dare to sing along as I played hymns on a pocket flute that I had developed while on my mission. All of these details were strong afterimages from my eyelids when I woke.

I was working as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and had been for the past twenty months. I had come out here from a small town in Southern Utah called Cedar City where the stars turned out to be real instead of suddenly blinking and slowly turning into airplanes. The past months had been the most amazing adventure, it felt like a whole other lifetime. I had met some strong people and the depth of my understanding of the human condition, struggles, and life had broadened. I felt truly energized when going over the dream again in my mind. Life didn’t have to be as hard as some of the ones I’d seen. Lives broken from drugs and violence, the young straddled with huge responsibilities when at the same time in my own history I was wondering which lawn to mow to get an extra $10 bucks for junk food. I thought on the dream. In that dream I had played hymns on the little pocket flute that I had developed while serving up in Danbury, CT. I had never learned hymns on it and suddenly it dawned on me that I needed to learn some.

I snapped back to my room. My alarm clock would be going off in about fifteen minutes and I reached over to shut it off. I didn’t want to wake anyone else too soon. My apartment was the basement of a home in Yorktown and we drove into Peekskill each morning to contact people and knock doors. We would park the car and hoof it to each house, which if you’ve ever been to Peekskill you will know it is no walk in the park. All the roads are very steep with stairs leading to older remodeled victorian homes that stand tall and are painted fancy colors on the trims. People were very nice in Peekskill and just when I felt comfortable that is when everything seems to change.

I had been planning on finishing my remaining four months of my mission in Peekskill because I had just been transferred here a couple of weeks ago. That is why my dream felt so weird. It felt real. I felt I was going to be in the city – just because of that dream. Since that dream I had sounded out many familiar hymns on my pocket flute and was in the process of perfecting them. But reality was. I was in Peekskill.

An evening a week later abruptly ended my time in Peekskill. I was at our apartment finishing planning the following day and had just spoken to several of our appointments. I answered the phone when it rang and my mission president, Nelson Boren, was on the other line. He said I was just the person he wanted to talk to. There was a missionary in the city that needed to be emergency transferred and he wanted me to take his spot – in the city. Harlem to be exact.

I was so excited! Hands down the city was the place to be – Manhattan was where I had started my mission nearly two years earlier and now I had the chance to go back and see the changes. See the people I had helped in finding happiness and peace in their lives. I hung up the line and told everyone in the apartment that I was transferring to the city in the morning and needed to pack. The next morning was a blur. A missionary couple came to pick me up. I said by to my roommates and by to the hudson and by to Yorktown and Peekskill and hello to the Bronx, then Manhattan and then I arrived in my last and final service area – Black Harlem!

My missionary companion was a Scott Alger who was quite new and had just transferred to Harlem from the Bronx. He was an easy going fellow who was optimistic of the future – Just like me. We had worked in the same zone in the Bronx and I was glad to be able to work and teach with him. I made missionary work fun, because I figured if it wasn’t fun, I wasn’t having fun and I couldn’t share the happiness I felt if I was always drained of fun. We came up with clever ways to teach the gospel including chess contacting in the parks. We would just join in on a tournament and would start up conversations with everyone. Not religious conversation. Just casual conversation to let people know that we were people too and weren’t always there to convert them to our way of thinking and ideas. We would join in on the corner with the flower guy beating drums and I’d play my flute and follow along.

We got up very early each morning and hit-up the subway to catch all the family oriented folks that were commuting to work. One morning as we were sitting on the subway Scott whispered to me that I should start playing a hymn on my flute and that he would sing along. So I started playing and he was singing along and the light was bright even though we were deep underground. There was subtle squeaking sounds as the subway rocked back and forth on the tracks, the rushing wind and close walls that solidified the illusion of speed. The smells of strong perfume that kept the other raunchy smells at bay. The shifty movements of people trying to look comfortable but still cramped and annoyed… I went silent.

I will always remember that moment. It was then that I knew I was exactly where I should be, doing exactly what I should be doing. It involved a small little flute that my mission president encouraged me to make and a vivid dream that I wrote down in detail.

I have been back from my mission for nearly eight years now and life has been a blast.  I have a wonderful wife and five kiddos who support me in all that I do.  I decided to pursue a life as the Designer / Founder of Wowflutes because there is more to the story than just making a cool pocketable instrument.  Sometimes it feels strange doing something that everyone else seems to be opposed to.  I get that exhilarating feeling again and again and the inspiration just flows when I focus on Wowflutes.  Life has a way of being exactly what you want even if it’s a dream.

One of my first Wowflutes made out in Manhattan – Spanish Harlem.


Art is everywhere in New York City!
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Four Hour Reading


So last night I fell asleep quite early on my recliner in the living room, around nine o’clock or so. I woke up around eleven and for some reason was wide awake. I felt as if I had slept the whole night!

I climbed the stairs to my room and my wife was already asleep – mostly.

I remembered that I had bought a book for my nook app on my iPhone that I had been wanting to read for a long time – “The Four Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferris

I opened my app and began reading… Four hours later, almost, I didn’t realize how quickly the time flew by. I was enjoying the concepts and ideas in Tim’s book so much. He talks a lot about how to work smarter rather than harder. Hard work is important, but if it’s hard because you don’t know how to do it – that’s just a pure waste of time. Especially if someone already knows how to do it and is an expert. Experts have just gone through all the mistakes before and found out what didn’t work.

I was thinking about how there are always lateral choices in the decision making process. I have always said that there is a whole alphabet of choices not just a or b. Then it hit me last night that there are numerous alphabets in numerous different languages as well, that leads to an abundance of choices!

Choices are good.  I sometimes struggle with making decisions mainly between two good choices.  I have found that making quick choices leads to either finding a better choice more quickly or being happy with your choice.  Life is about choices big and small.  Everyday we are bombarded with choices: What to eat, should I go to work, how many cookies should I eat… ect, ect, ect…  Some choices are easier when we have already made them in advance.  This mainly is applicable to avoiding wrong choices and situations.  I am reminded of the song by the group BNL – “Never is Enough”.  I think never is enough for many of the choices that one may face.

Choose the Right is a major teaching tool with my LDS (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) faith.  Choosing is critical to advancing life and choosing the right is key.  I also think choosing the wrong sometimes helps us to understand a bit better why it is wrong.  Now I don’t condone choosing the wrong on purpose, but if we never choose we do not go anywhere.  The choice is the first step in a certain direction.  So choose quickly and decide as you go whether it was a good choice or not.  Chances are the first choice is usually your best!

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Designing Dual-Functionality


I was thinking about how the design process works when dealing with a new product.  This is my favorite part of the design process is figuring out how something works or why it works.  I think this is how every discovery is made.  First you think about something and say  “wouldn’t it be cool if it had this feature…?”.

I have been working in my new ceramic studio for the past couple of weeks designing and refining new products for my business Wowflutes. The concept of Wowflutes is built on the idea of dual-functionality in each creation.  I try to think of something somewhat mundane, like a mug for instance, and make it into a new product with a musical twist.  I have been working on refining my design of the Wowflute Mug.  I first throw a simple cylinder on the wheel, cut it off and let it dry to leatherhard.

Then I take my trimming tools and trim it like a standard mug.  After trimming I take a needle tool and cut in half about 2/3rds from the top.  I then fashion the flute mechanisms into the bottom part of the mug and using knitting needles I create an airflow channel through the top 2/3rds of the mug and make this the mouthpiece.  I then cutout a traced circle of the mug piece and add a flattened mid-section that serves as a false bottom to the mug and a top for my closed vessel whistle that is in the bottom portion.

Then it is on to tuning the mug by putting the proper amount and size of holes in relation to the size of the chamber.  After it is tuned to play the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly with the proper fingering to match my tableture notation it is ready for a handle!

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Relic Wowflutes

Rough Polished Relic Wowflute

Our new Relic Wowflute Ocarina will be coming soon!  We are still in the development stage and are working on producing a Kickstarter campaign!  Keep your eyes peeled.


We have launched our Kickstarter Campaign and with the first day we have gotten over 20% funded!  Yay!  The Relic Wowflute is a very in-depth process.  We first start out with a powdered metal.  We used Hadar’s Clay because it seemed less commercialized.  Hadar’s Clay was a great choice because it allowed for much more versatility and control over the consistency of the clay.

Metal clay is quite interesting to work with.  As I was shaping a Relic, the water would flow towards gravity and would pool there.  The top would dry out quickly but the bottom would still be wet.  It definitely will be a  learning curve that I am willing to take the time to develop!

Mirror Finish Relic Wowflute

In the Kiln