Elaine and Jim
How do people use music sticks
In Aboriginal culture, music sticks have long been used to accompany songs and dances during ceremonies. They have been made for an 'outside' or non-ceremonial audience since missionaries, anthropologists and collectors began arriving in central Australia early this century. Today music sticks are among the cultural items produced by communities for sale to the growing tourism trade and art market.
Both men and women make plain and decorated wood carvings of animals, bowls, clubs, digging sticks and music sticks. The patterns decorating these items are derived from traditional designs, but new techniques allow artists to be innovative in their interpretations. The designs on these music sticks are indicative of the Santa Teresa style, depicting distinctive patterns of dots and line work in vivid colour. Mary Oliver has used traditional Aboriginal symbols as a basis for developing her own style and patterns. The designs on the music sticks have been inspired by nature and are purely decorative — unlike traditional Aboriginal symbols, they do not tell a story.
- Make your own music sticks from natural or industrial materials
- Decorate your instrument with patterns and symbols. Do the symbols have any meaning? Does your decoration tell a story?