Sunday, December 21, 2014

Pots to Listen to

I've been interested in the sounds pottery can make, in the possibility that ceramics is auditory art/craft, not just a visual one. Of course it isn't just visual, it's very tactile. But most of us look carefully at pots and train our eyes for visual art. How about listening. All fired pots ring nicely when tapped.  There are ceramic drums, flutes, whistles, bells. Barry Hall wrote an intriguing book about this, called "From Mud to Music". So I have an exploration to come, of ceramic musical instruments.

I thought bells would be an easy place to start. Trying to follow instructions, I think by Barbara Dunstreet, on one of those how to websites, I've started with the bells in these pictures. It's not easy by the way, lots of little parts to fit together so that the sound is good.

I've tried stoneware and porcelain for cone 6 firing temperatures. They make a wide variety of sound, in tone quality and in pitch. Why? It it the material? The one above seems best, made of stoneware with a pocelain clapper. But does the shape of the bell matter? I've tried two bell shapes


The second shape sounds worst, but I'm not sure the shape is the reason. How about the place the clapper hits?

This is supposed to be best, the clapper touching the bell's rim. I'm finding that right.

So here's a new area opening up, to explore and learn, before I come up with reliably good bells.

And yes, they should look good,

and these are for decorated for Christmas. Merry Christmas!