Ringer Khkokopelli recently had their flute decorated with images from The Hobbit by talented flute maker John Lunn . I think you’ll agree that he did a truly amazing job 🙂
Many thanks to John, who has kindly agreed to us posting the photos he took of the flute and his comments about the images he chose.
“The Hobbit” flute by John Lunn
This silver artwork is chased and raised on a privately owned Altus flute. In the limited open spaces available, I have humbly tried to retell an abridged version of JRR Tolkien’s wonderful adventure. I’ve had to edit some of the photos because the shadows mixed with the silver oxidation in the photography and created blotches that should not be there. This is the most complex story I’ve told on a flute to date. I hope I have done it justice.
Bilbo was enjoying a quiet and uneventful day when the wizard, Gandalf the Gray, came up the hill.
He brought trouble to poor Bilbo in the form of 13 dwarves and their leader, Thorin Oakenshield. They wanted Bilbo to join them on an expedition to the Lonely mountain where to reclaim their heritage, their treasure and their home from the dragon, Smaug.
Reluctantly, Bilbo joins them and he leaves Hobbiton for the first time in his life.
(My original concept for this cup was to have the travelers going over the top of the far hill. It was just too small! They wouldn’t have even been dots.)
On a miserable night in the forests outside the Shire, they encounter 3 trolls that nearly eat them all.
(These two keys are solid and at first I just chased the tops but I really wanted relief in the repousse to make the trolls stand out. So I had to carve the metal out of the back so it was thin enough to raise.)
After a narrow escape, they find respite in Rivendell where the Elrond lives in the Last Homely house west of the Misty Mountains.
(I like the idea of the Last Homely House being in a tree that could almost be a cloud. Again, like the dwarf faces, the enlarged picture is too close to get the best picture. You’ll have to visit the real flute someday 🙂
Their break is short and not long after they scale the first ridge they are attacked by Goblins.
(I seem to be using a lot of fangs for the goblins and trolls.)
and chained together to be dragged down into the deep core of the mountain.
(With simple lines, this cup might have been better if it was engraved, rather than chased. I guess I better get a graver out and learn a new craft!)
Where Bilbo is separated from the dwarves and meets up with a strange fish named Gollum.
(Gollums hands got in the way of this one. I meant to have much more of his face showing in panic at the lost of “his precious”.)
After they quarrel over riddles, Bilbo finds a magical ring that has the power to turn him invisible.
(I had to make a simplified version of the ring’s inscription because, chasing really isn’t meant to be as fine as engraving.)
He and the dwarves manage to escape with the help of the great eagles who take them to the very gates of Mirkwood.
(I use the oxidation here to create dusky clouds and smoke.)
Bilbo, separated from his friends again, must battle giant spiders to save them only to be captured by wood elves.
(I think I raised the trees to high on this. Shallow chasing might have worked better but, hey, you never know unless you try. Bilbo should have been in the darkness at the end of the trail but it was just too small and too dark.)
Alone and invisible wandering in the elves’ fortress, he and the dwarves escape from the dungeons in empty wine barrels that are floated down the river to Lake Town.
(Bilbo the barrel rider. This is another thick key that I only chased from the top with no relief on the backside.)
When they finally reach the back door on the Lonely Mountain, where their secret key unlocks a passageway,
(The runes around the keyhole say “5 feet high and 3 across”.
Wearing his ring of invisibility, Bilbo sneaks down and meets with Smaug the dragon, and learns that there is a hole in the old worm’s armor.
Enraged at Bilbo, and guessing he came from Lake Town, Smaug comes out of the mountain to attack. But the archers are ready and kill the dragon using the secret that Bilbo learned.
(Also chased only from the front on the thumb keys, these two images go together. I think I forgot Bard’s arrow flying at Smaug’s heart, but it may be there…)
Inside the mountain Bilbo and the dwarves discover all the treasure and Bilbo steals for himself the Arkenstone of Thrain, a gem so rare and wonderful that it called the heart of the mountain.
(One side of this key shows Bilbo reaching with amazement for the Arkenstone and on the other Thorin in his jealous fury at not being able to find it. I forgot it would be half covered by the C# button – oops.)
Left hand section overview with Smaug and Bilbo on the right. I gave Bilbo a shroud of invisibility that looks a little strange so close up.
With the dragon gone, factions from far and wide descended on the mountain looking for a share. Goblins and elves and wargs among them. But Thorin had buttressed the gates and would let no one in. Thus started the battle of 5 armies that nearly ended in devastation of the elves and dwarves.
But all ended well when these two peoples came together, along with the help of the eagles and the giant bear, Beorn, to overthrow the goblins.
The last key that I had any room to be able to embellish with a picture has to wrap up the tale with the war of 5 armies. There are 5 factions represented by these symbols. The shield in the middle has the elvish rune for war.
And so Bilbo returned to his home in the Shire where he lived a peaceful and quiet life.
I thought that the return to a peaceful life could best be illustrated with Tolkien’s own rune for his signature.