Rainstick making and history lesson at the Depot Gallery

Darian Graivshark
Children show off their rainsticks during the winter camp after they've completed them.

In the 1960's, the rainstick was found to be used as a symbol for the rainforest.

However, it was invented by the Aztecs and later spread to South and Central America. The origin of the rainstick, though, is unknown. The rainstick is considered a percussion instrument.

Indians in Chile used it to bring rain. Many other cultures believed it could bring rain, and it has been used in religious ceremonies in different cultures because of the restful sound it makes. Today, it is used as a means of teaching children when learning about Native American history.

Rainsticks were originally made out of a stalk from a cactus, which would create the tube. Thorns that are inside of the cactus would be pressed into dead wood, thus creating the sound of rain when pebbles would hit against them. Pebbles, rice, or beans are put inside of a rainstick to create the sound of rain or a river.

On January 3, the River Region Art Association had a rainstick making class at the Depot Art Gallery in Gonzales. Here, children created their own rainsticks and got to fill them any way they wanted. There were beans, pebbles, and rice for the children to choose from.

Some children got creative and decorated their rainsticks with yarn and shiny paper. Others used zebra print duct tape to bring creativity to their piece.

"The rainstick is like a meditation stick," Sharon Flanagan, artist of the class at the Depot Art Gallery, said. "It helps with calming. The sound of it can represent rain, a river, or a flood. Whichever may be happening at the time."

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