WHEN THEIR AIRBORNE melodies blend with the breezes, aluminum-pipe wind chimes have a particularly exotic appeal. They drum up visions of sailboats sliding into the waves, the sound of metal against mast. The shorter ones, 30 inches long, have a light, sweet resonance. As the pipes grow longer, the sound becomes louder and deeper. When they reach 64 inches in length, they sound like cathedral bells.
Wesley Picotte is the one-man master behind Picotte Wind Chimes of Santa Barbara. A former furniture and clock maker, he now devotes himself full time to making chimes. A purist, Picotte uses only clear-heart redwood for the round disk from which he hangs his brushed-metal pipes. The wood is weather-treated and holes are grommetted to avoid the chafing of the nylon cord. You will not find any anodized aluminum on these wind chimes; according to Picotte, it spoils the sound.
The chimes are available in four sizes--from 30 to 64 inches in length--prices range from $25 to $95, and each comes with a lifetime guarantee. Picotte carefully tunes his chimes to a five-tone, pentatonic scale borrowed from Asian music.
Picotte Wind Chimes, 16 San Marcos Trout Club, Santa Barbara; (805) 683-2763.