Shadow Chaser Bells

September 20, 2010

My forged iron clapper bells all start out as flat equilateral triangles of 1/8″ steel plate.  The triangle is hammered into a dome, then a smaller round dome is hammered in the top, and the points are flared out.  About ten years ago I experimented with hammering small round domes on each of the points as well as on the top, creating a shorter, wider, more bumpy-looking bell.  I made three of these.  One of them had triple-split points and became the Underworld Jellyfish, which I sold.  The other two have been sitting around the shop, waiting for clappers and ornaments.  I finished them a few days ago.

Midnight Shadow Chaser Bell

Midnight Shadow Chaser was named for its sound, which is a low, hollow, slightly dissonant clang.  It was forged from a four-inch triangle and is slightly larger than my other bells.  The clapper is a bell in itself, and adds its own voice.  This bell swings easily on its simple twisted, riveted ring.  Total length (bell, clapper, and ring) is 6.6 inches.

Evening Shadow Chaser Bell

Evening Shadow Chaser is made in exactly the same style but the bell and clapper are a bit smaller.  This bell has a clean, bright sound with a lot of sweet overtones.  It is fun to carry, with its double chain of graduated spirals and three high-pitched, tinkling cone bells to keep the larger bell company.  Total length is 13.5 inches. 
Overtones seem to be a characteristic of these four-domed bells, which is why the larger ones can be dissonant and the smaller ones have an intense, sustained ring.  They’re interesting but I don’t plan to make any more, since the sound is difficult to control and visually I prefer the simpler domed shape.