Whistles in harmony with nature - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Whistles in harmony with nature

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EAST MONTPELIER, Vt. -

The birds are singing sweet songs in East Montpelier, and there's one woman who's in harmony with them.

Nature is Mary Stone's inspiration for whistles she makes out of clay.  "It's the magic moment of making sound of something you can hold in your hand," she said.

Stone has worked with clay for over 30 years.  She uses a pinch pot technique for her clay whistles. "It's very much like working on a potter's wheel because I'm rotating the clay, but instead of on a wheel, I'm turning it on my hands," Stone said.

Along with whistles, Stone also makes salt and pepper shakers. She doesn't want people who buy her art to let it get dusty on a shelf. "I like that they stand alone as a sculpture, or you pick it up and it plays music, and what it does is make people smile," she said.

Stone sells about 1,000 whistles a year -- they range in price from $15 to $300. And you don't have to be a musician to play a song on these whistles. "A lot of people ask if I play an instrument? yeah I play the penguin and the chickadee," Stone said.

Each hole is meticulously carved and tuned to make sure it's pitch perfect. "The technical term for this is the fipple -- it's where the sound is made," Stone said.

Smaller whistles have a three note scale. The larger ones have 5 notes -- Do - Re - Mi - Fa - So.

And with a quick lesson, even this reporter can figure out how to make music.

"It's surprise and it's pleasure and happiness," Stone said.

Connecting people to nature with a tune that's close to her heart.

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