Garry Greenwood's Leather Alchemy
Another of Greenwood’s inventions are leather ocarinas, named Poco Pods. The sculptor was interested to discover the difference between the traditional ceramic ocarina and one made from leather and also wanted to discover the acoustic principle behind the ocarina’s characteristic ‘whistle’.
These little instruments proved to be one of the most difficult projects Greenwood had ever undertaken – with problems including the size of the finger-holes, a lack of consistency in sound (in the prototype there appears to be no relation between sound and finger) and tonal control.
The last deficiency was caused by the large volume of air inside the Pod which, Greenwood found, was greater than that of a bass recorder.
Greenwood’s first Poco Pod was basically flat (all subsequent Pods are spherical). He used a piece of ivory from a piano key as the air-splitter and placed it inside the body of the instrument – then spent two frustrating days trying to find the right distance between it and the mouth-hole. Once he eventually did find the right place, he was disappointed to discover that only one hole sounded. In successive instruments the holes were cut after the piano keys were in place.