As I learn more about the process of turning steel drums into unique, intricate works of art, I am humbled by what simple tools and bare hands can summon. Barrels are stripped of their tops and bottoms, filled with dried banana or sugar cane leaves, and then burned to remove the residue of the barrel's former life. The next step is to split and flatten the cylinder, by hand and hammer. The design image is then cut out with a chisel and a mallet, and the metal is worked and brushed into stunning creations.
The hammers were quiet for awhile after the devastating January 12, 2010 earthquake that toppled buildings and took so many lives. I have read that in Haiti, art is life, and it is through art that healing will happen. A few days after the quake, as the earth began to settle, tables were set up as makeshift workshops, and the hammers and chisels once again began to fall., and once again, the air is filled with that magic, healing sound.