I’ve been taking metalsmithing classes at the local arts center, and after completing three levels of coursework, I’ve finally made something for myself that I can wear. It’s a ring.
Only after starting work on the ring did I begin to appreciate the homonymic nature of the word ‘ring’ in the context of a metalsmith’s studio. From the first day, we were taught to use our ears as a gauge for our technique and progress. For example, when threading the saw with a blade, pluck it with a fingernail and listen for a slight ping — if the pitch is high, it’s tight enough, but if you hear a low, hollow ring, it’s too slack. Then, when sawing through metal at the right angle, the grate should be soft and even, not loud and choppy. The sound of gas and fire comes into play later: when annealing a sheet of metal, listen for a hiss before you light the torch, and when soldering the seam of a ring, the flame should should sound like a heavy wind. It’s all very musical.
So using my fingers and my ears, I turned this: