Downtown Homer got a little brighter Thursday afternoon — in color, and in tone.
You’ll hear it — the calming chime of the bell — if a breeze is blowing while you’re walking near the Center for the Arts.
The music is courtesy of the wind, and the chime itself of Paul Yaman, who dreamed it up and built it.
He first started building wind chimes 10 months ago. The bells he makes out of gas cylinders. The chime at the Center for the Arts was something he tinkered together over the winter. He added a mallet to this chime that he fashioned out of a baseball and a dowel. If the wind stops, you can still get some music out of the bell by giving it a whack.
Yaman said he was inspired to build these large chimes after a trip to Sedona, Arizona, about a year ago.
He came across several such chimes there, but the one that really grabbed his attention was in a little meditation center along a trail. He said he sat down to meditate there, where he had a profound experience — “ a flash of inspiration of white light, or a short circuit, you can call it, I guess.”
And that the background of this experience was the ringing tone of the nearby wind chime.
“I just felt totally calm and centered,” he said.
When he returned home to Solon, Yaman felt compelled to make chimes himself, in order to help create a similar atmosphere for other people and to share the sense of peace he experienced.
Making the chimes, too, has been a deeply peaceful experience for him. Last October, he turned part of his garage into a workshop so he could keep making chimes through the winter. Yaman said he finds the work of making the chime is a meditative experience in itself.
“When I’m doing this, I’m just in a creative space, so I wanted to share that,” he said.
He said he wanted to share the chime with the public particularly because of the challenging period coronavirus is putting everyone through.
“It’s just a difficult time right now,” he said. “Hopefully it will brighten somebody’s day up.”
“I think it’s a wonderful gift to the center and the Center for the Arts community,” said Ty Marshal, executive director of the Center for the Arts. “Paul’s always been involved with the center as an artist and a creator, and we find it to be very moving.”
Yaman is retired and has been for years. He also likes making chimes because it gives him something to do, but it’s also something that isn’t being done for money.
“It’s not business,” he said. “I don’t want it to be business. It’s a calling. It’s a chance to take everything I’ve learned and put it into play. It was as if I was doing something that I was supposed to do in my life, and I did it.”