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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

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Silvercloud Swirl Wowflutes


As I pick out colors for the Wowflute I generally like to pick colors from my own photography. I enjoy colors and am continually striving to get the right color mix!  A few years ago I decided to save a Swirl Wowflute from every batch I made.  The logic behind this was that if one color mixture sold better than another I would have an example to copy.

This kind of back-fired.  I now have over four hundred Swirl Wowflutes in my collection and I tend to make new mixtures every time.  No Swirl Wowflute is alike.



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I truly enjoy a good prototype. There is something that makes experimenting with new ideas a feast for the mind. This is one of the new prototypes for the Precious Metal Wowflute. I’ve been wanting to try this new material for some time. I finally had the time to test it out. I used Hadar’s Clay in powdered form to make three Wowflutes. I attempted to try the Mokume-Gane method for mixing Copper, Bronze, and Steel to create a colorful swirl pattern similar to my current handmade Wowflutes that are swirled in polymer clay. My fingers were not used to the new weight of the clay! I found the clay was quite malleable when mixed properly but could also turn into something similar to silly putty with too much water. This new material will take some time to get used to. My hands and fingers are trained to the thickness of my polymer clay flutes. I believe I will need to get the wall thickness of the metal wowflutes much thinner and more refined. In order to do this though the clay must be more dry to hold shape – which poses a problem when it comes to drying out and cracking. I will need to make these flutes much quicker when forming to minimize cracks. I think I may be able to use cracks to my advantage and use them for inlay of a different material once the flutes are fired and finished. Quite the new process working in metal! Stay tuned, I will be uploading more pictures of the process soon.

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Creators and Makers

This morning as I was making a batch of flutes I was thinking about why I do what I do – Why I make wowflutes? Why I have such a desire to make dual-functional items? Why clay?

Why am I a maker? The simple answer:  I enjoy it!  I would gladly make flutes out of clay all day without pay (say that five times fast).  It’s that much fun for me.  The money I make from flutes is just a side benefit.  It is not the end goal.  The end goal is to say “I made that” and to be proud of the accomplishment.

This is why I started Wowflutes.  It’s because it is mine and I can say “I made that”.  There is a satisfaction that comes from those words.  I like to try new things and make new things because when I am focused on making things I open up some sort of channel and the ideas just keep pouring through.

I have found that the inspiration and ideas that come to me when I’m doing something is a good measurement of whether I will continue to do it or not.  When the ideas flow I know I’m on to something that is greater than myself.  This is so exhilarating! When you feel it, it is hard to focus time towards anything else that does not get the juices flowing.

I am truly a maker and I love it!

We all have the potential to create and make our lives what we want them to be.  If you don’t like your circumstances – Change them!  Make it different or as Captain Jean-Luc Pecard would say: “Make it so”.

Inspired by:
Mormon Leader – President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

TED conference by Dale Dougherty: We are makers