New Moon: Circle of Bells

August 12, 2007

This Moon I have continued to work on several large projects – the Xerophytic Ferns Guide now has photos of 21 species, so the webpage is more than half finished.  I wasted a couple of weeks on a sewing project that didn’t work out, so I put it away for awhile.  Unfinished drawings of pomegranates, cats, and plants are scattered on my desk.  In honor of the Perseid meteor shower, I forged A DOZEN small triangular bells with cone clappers and sewed them on my new shaman’s belt.  I’ll post a photo when it’s done, but for now I’m working on more cone bells- it’s not heavy enough yet 🙂

cone bells in progress

Here’s a series of cone bells in progress, showing the steps in forging them:  The blank (1) is a 1″ triangle hot-chiselled from 1/8″ thick mild steel.  The wide end is hammered flat (2) then hammered into a tube (3).  The narrow end is “drawn out” or hammered into a square-sided point (4).  The point is hammered round and the cone is flared (5) with pliers.  The point is filed smooth and curled into a loop, and the cone is given its final shape and quenched (6).  The gray firescale is removed with a wire brush, and any rough spots are ground and polished smooth (7).  The bright shiny cone is returned to the fire and quenched in peanut oil to give it a glossy black finish (8).

Unlike my curly cones, which are made from cut nails and have fairly precise, symmetrical shapes, this group is more freeform and each one will be a bit different.  The “traditional” iron cones found on Siberian shaman’s costumes and West African ritual staves usually have a larger, flattened loop and are not flared or curled.  It’s a simpler style consistent with cones shaped entirely by hammering, without the use of pliers.  But the basic method of construction is the same.

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One Response to “New Moon: Circle of Bells”

  1. Karin said

    Women are bells. When we wear long skirts this can be seen more clearly.

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