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Leather Didgeridoos by Marko Johnson

Marko Johnson's artistic career began with working with leather in the early 70's, and continues to this day.
Most of his designs are multi functional with an emphasis on simplicity.

In the early 90's he was introduced to "rawhide", yet another form of leather. He quickly developed techniques to dye rawhide rather than paint it. He designed his own style of drum rings and have since made thousands of hand held frame drums and experimented in creating many types of primitive instruments.

Then it happened! In September, 1993 he was introduced to the Australian Didjeridoo.
The deep haunting drone produced by softly blowing into this ancient wind instrument has held his attention for 9 years and he has learned to make his own version of the Didjeridoo using many different materials as well as developed many non traditional methods of painting or decorating this mystic tool.
Learning to play the Didjeridoo and learning to circular breath has opened doors for him that never even existed before. In the past 9 years he has performed and recorded many times, held "How to play didjeridoo" workshops and taught many people how to circular breath.
His current artistic endeavor is to make the best sounding and easiest playing didjs possible with the materials readily available in his area.
Leather was the material of choice for many reasons, one reason being, he had never heard of anyone ever making a leather didj. It had to be tried and the results were astounding, a rich full sound comparable to some of the best didjs in the world emerged.

You can read much more about Marko's Didjeridoo History and the Didjbox/Didjflutes at: http://www.didjbox.com

The more current leather didjs and other works of art can be viewed at: http://www.rounddoor.com

Here are some examples of Markos Didgeridoos:

How Marko makes a leather didjeridoo:

Form a tube using thick leather by stitching or gluing the seems together and then coat it with 2 part epoxy resin inside and out, twice.
You have full control of the shape, length, taper, mouthpiece and bell size and shape, etc:
"I prefer to not give out details of the process because the trial and error and experimenting is half the fun. I am always interested to see what others may achieve without relying on my instructions." quotes Marko.
1. The first step in making a leather didj is selecting the proper hide.
 
2. The hide has been cut into didj blanks, ready to form into a tube. Decorating the didj is an option at this point, even traditional leather tooling can be applied on the flat surface.
 
3. Hand stitching the leather tube while relaxing by the pond.
 
3a. Close up of stitching process.
 
4. Didj tubes in various stages of decorating and stitching.
 
5. Six stitched didjs ready for the next step, applying epoxy resin.
 
6. The finished product, tuned and treated with epoxy.
Marko Johnson
2002-09-26
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