Many things in life run to a rhythm. There is the rhythm of breathing, of running, of a ticking clock. There is the cyclical rhythm of the seasons. There is the rhythm of music or words. Metalsmithing offers some obvious and some hidden rhythms for us to find.
First there is the obvious – the rhythm of the hammers. The pounding of a hammer creates a repetitive beat, a noise and a movement working together to create its own song. But each hammer has its own rhythm. The beat of planishing is steady and drone like with a distinctive “ping” of metal on metal. Raising and sinking each have their own pattern, as do chasing and bouging with a mallet.
Other tools have their own physical beat as well. Sawing has a fluid movement while filing can have short or long strokes. Sanding can be circular or back and forth, and the steps of working from coarser to finer grit offer a lot of repetition.
Then there is the visual rhythm of a piece. An artist might use repeating patterns or shapes. The links on a chain or the lines of a fold formed piece. These elements might repeat in a single piece or throughout an entire series. The rhythm might come from the edge of a piece or from what is missing from it. It might also be the feel of a piece, the rhythm of your finger moving against the metal.
What rhythms do you find in your life? What rhythms draw you in, attract you to them?
Links about Rhythm:
Slow Time: Recovering the Natural Rhythm of Life by Waverly Fitzgerald
Susie Monday (whose posts inspired this one)
Problogger’s Tips on Finding Your Blogging Rhythm