T is for Ting (AtoZ 2016)
It’s a small sound, but a beautiful one.
Before you fire the metal clay, it’s a light grey colour. After you fire it, it’s white. The change in colour lets you know that it’s been fired, but that’s not a sure-fire indication of whether you’ve fired it enough.
In a kiln, you set a temperature and a time. Assuming that you followed the instructions and your kiln is accurate, you can be fairly confident that your item is completely sintered.
With a torch, I set a timer. But, I can’t measure or set the temperature. So, after the bead cools down, I gently tap it (or drop it from an inch or so above the counter) and listen for the ting that tells me that it’s sintered and is metal, not clay. Obviously, anything hitting a table makes a thump sound, but metal has a second sound, a ting, above the thump that you can hear if you listen.
Not sure what I mean by ting? Take a marble or something similar (but not metal) and gently drop it just above a hard surface. Then take a ring or other small metal item and do the same. You might have to do it a few times, but there’s a subtle difference between the two. The ting.
Sometimes I drop the bead a few times to make sure that I’m really hearing a ting everywhere since a torch doesn’t necessarily heat it evenly and there’s always the chance that it might be sintered in one area and not in another. So far I haven’t had to refire any pieces, but there’s always a moment where I hold my breath as I listen for the ting.
And then I do my happy dance.
What sounds make you happy? Or do you like the sound of silence? :)