My wife Susan Halle has been a huge part of the creation of Rays Rootworks. Since the beginning, I have shared all my thoughts and ideas with Su and she in turn has given me endless positive and creative feedback. From the idea of putting a piece of fabric along the edge of the shell for its anti-slip properties to design choices, Su's careful eye sees all. Having worked as an art director for many years and a visual artist herself, I feel blessed not only to have found my soul mate, but also someone who shares my love for art and creating. Heck, Su will be proof reading this as well.
Su also does some of the pyrography on the instruments.; burning a small message or an image.
Su and I met at a music festival (Space Gathering) and our love for music and dance has also been a part of our journey. A few years ago we started our music project Thetaflo. It has morphed and evolved through the years. Su used to play the hammered dulcimer that I used to make, but with her experience as a djay, it made more sense for her to mix sounds and textures while I play my instruments.
Su loves to dance and from time to time facilitates ecstatic dance events. She as teaches yoga and fitness. The past few years have opened her up to more creative expression. She creates and sells one of a kind wearable art clothing under the name Triptastica as well as dabbling in painting.. Right now she is exploring pour painting.
Musician, composer, recording engineer, builder, luthier, dreamer and artist.
In 2012 after moving to Peterborough, Ontario I was working on a live album as a follow up from my last album (Discovering the Ancient) I wanted to make a fretless instrument to use on the album and to use live. At the end of Discovering the ancient I got in to the whole 432HZ thing and while looking at Youtube videos I cam across the Fibonacci sequence , Golden ratio. This Nautilus shell like shape got me thinking about how special the acoustic sound of a shell is and . . . So began my adventure on creating the instrument which I now call the Root.
Rootworks name is more about a personal adventure of going back to the roots for myself.
My head exploded with ideas of what I could build and make to create beautiful sound . Being someone who always was interested in building and mechanically minded. I found a lot of things came naturally. I had found my true passion that brought together all the things I love. I don't have time make albums anymore, but love jamming with friends and my wife, Su.
Su and I have a music project called Thetaflo which I make some time for now. My joy is also in knowing my creations are now being used to make music by others. The Bud was my next instrument to make which was at the time basically a ukulele. I love playing the ukulele and spend more time playing it these days. When I was in bands the guitar was my main instrument. So it only make sense I had to take my design and make a guitar out of it. I'm really happy with the sound and tone I am getting out of my instruments. It's really important to me how well they sound and play.
This design has spiraled out into this amazing journey I am now on and the people and places it's connecting me with is magical. It should also be said how lucky I am to have someone like Su in my life who has played a huge part in this journey.
With Love in my heart
Fibonacci spiral, 432hz and trees.
About the ShellBack.
I use the Fibonacci spiral as a template for making my instruments. As you can see in this picture I simply stop at the point of which I want the instruments size to be. This is one of the original templates I made.. I pretty much have figured out the Helmholtz resonance (Air chamber frequency) of my instruments,.
I developed my shellback based on a similar method used to make boats by overlapping each veneer. This adds great strength without adding much weight. The end result resembles a Nautilus shell. The Nautilus is known for its sound and is actually used in some cultures as an instrument. With this inspiration, my instruments have become known for their beauty and sound.
While working on my first Chill album, Discovering the Ancient, I became interested in 432hz tuning ( this is part of the reason for the title of the album). I wanted to be able to play microtones, which is why I built my first fretless instrument. While looking up information on 432hz I came across a video about the Fibonacci sequence and this is what sparked the whole idea for the shape of my instruments. "The Root" was born.
The Root and Rays Rootworks name came from me personally going back to my roots of playing and building. It's more of a personal reflection. I've been asked if I make them out of roots. Nope, no roots but I do make them out of some beautiful woods. I get most of my wood at Exotic-Woods a family run business that I trust. They even have a special section dedicated to storing wood for musical instruments. (Climatized).
I try to use more local woods that are not so overcut. I'm always thinking of ways to use all my pieces of left over wood. I have bins for each type and I use them to make my unique tailpieces and other things.
Prior to building instruments I wrote songs and albums about trees and the forest, but I have to say, I knew nothing compared to what I know now about trees. We are so lucky to have them in our lives.