Our instruments are simply cool. They are the result of our commitment towards high quality sound and beautiful appearance.
How We Work
OK, the how we work part. We hammer. Well it is basically this. We have bought a number of hammers that we won’t ever experience that “Darling, where did you put the hammer?” thing. There’s hammers everywhere, we have even a pneumatic one we called George. And then there is steel, of course.
Each shell is different. You never buy two identical shells. The universe of physics knows what happens in furnaces and in nitriding ovens, and when they come to us we always have this moment where we do not know how to treat them. But then they become familiar, and we smash them with our hammers to take the notes out of that big mystery that is physics.
The Ancient Book
Ok, there is a book that explains how this and that work, but we were both shocked by mathematics at school, and we will read it the day Khan Academy makes a chapter on the physics of sound and steel. But there is a lot of very nice documentation online about handpan building and playing, our website collects a part of the most interesting articles here.
And what happens next?
Once the notes are all there and the sound is nice, Elisa draws on the shell her beautiful graphics. She is happy because there is not so much ancient Egyptian rocks to draw onto todays, they are mostly in museums and they do not want you to draw on them. Instead you can always sleep just near the Parthenon’s frieze, no one will ever notice.
A farewell party
With the graphics done and the notes with all their harmonics, our handpans leave their home to reach our customers. Before selling our first instrument, we would have never thought that it was like selling and giving away a piece of ourselves. I mean, we do it because we make a living out of this, but as every piece has a name we give it, it is like saying goodbye to what you have created and nourished. It is for this reason that we love to maintain a good relationship with our customers, because you do not buy a piece of steel, you adopt a pet that was born in our home.
We still have traces decals on our arms. The ones you can find with potato chips bags. We tried to wash them away, but they stayed like those stamps you get when you go to a disco. Elisa has one on her shoulder and another on her back she drew herself. Marco is still taking notes on his arms and hands with a pen, a good habit learnt from an old friend.
Tattooing the steel
Elisa has kept her habit of drawing whenever she is in the mood, she always carries a small notebook where she fixes her inspiration. When the shell is ready, she passes the engraving onto it. It is quite a long and hard job, steel is hard and there is no room for mistakes. It is like tattooing a person’s face or something like that. Well, a person’s face is really a mess if you make a mistake, a handpan can always be fixed, but we like not to make errors.
Each engraving is different. Every instrument has its personality, and you cannot make the same drawing. We are not a cheap tattoo parlor you enter being drunk and have you arm tattooed with a scorpion or a tiger. Our drawings are taken from the nowhere and become fantastic animals, maybe like those you have seen in medieval bestiaries or in that Voynich book. They can be landscapes where elements melt together, air and water, fire and earth. It is always a big cauldron. Nothing ever disappears; everything melts into a new and marvelous unity.