The study of Nada Yoga recognizes the role of sound in the quest for enlightenment.
In¬†sanskrit the word “Nada” ¬†translates to¬†sound. The sanskrit word¬†Yoga means to unite. Therefore we can define Nada Yoga as unity through sound. Basically in this type of yoga we are using sound as a tool to connect with the true self and transcend ¬†physical boundaries.
A nada yogi believes that the whole world is a projection of sound itself. ¬†Therefore everything, including human beings, is made up of sound vibrations. ¬†The philosophy of Nada Yoga states that there are two types of sounds, “anhata” which refers to outer sounds, and “anahata” which refers to the sound within. ¬†This sound within is one’s own personal vibrations.
When we think of sound we usually relate that to the sounds around us but in fact we have many sounds within us. To hear one’s inner sound we must practice the art of listening. This can be done through meditation practice.¬†While most people assume meditation is the absence of thought in reality it is the quieting of the mind so we are in tune enough with our own self to listen to our inner vibrations.
When we allow our mind to focus on something using our full attention we will often find moments of bliss. We can relate this to dancing, making love or listening to our favourite piece of music. In order to focus fully we must remove the noise from our minds so we can hear the sounds within and find the joy which comes from accessing the true self.
Music can be used as a tool to aid the mind in this journey. Pleasurable sounds or vibrations can help to tune the body’s frequencies to create harmony within. When we achieve this inner harmony we are able to focus and listen to our inner sounds. ¬†¬†The practice of Nada Yoga can take the mind into places beyond the audible sound.¬†By¬†clearing the noise present in the mind we ¬†can find union with the nada.
Carrying this awareness of sound, vibrations and the art of listening with us through our everyday life will uplift the spirit and attract positive vibrations into our life. Energy attracts energy and our blissful vibrations will naturally tune into others positive vibrations creating a harmony which will resonate in all aspects of our life.
Continuing the process of creating this cuff bracelet. Once the piece is cut from the silver sheet it is then filed on all side to even out the saw marks. The two short sides are filed at 90 degree angles parallel to each other. The piece is then heated to make sure the metal is soft enough to bend. This process is called annealing. It is then bent into a “D” like shape. The two short ends that were filed perfectly straight need to meet each other. If they do not meet exactly your solder seem will be weak. This might cause the piece to split open during the rounding phase. When making jewellery it is important that each stage is done correctly and with precision and care. If not then the job will become more difficult in the later stages. As in life it is important to set a good foundation to build off of. Only then can we expect to achieve the real essence of truth, beauty and excellence.
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Oops! I made this ring a half size too small. Mistakes happen but it is important to know the proper way to fix them.
The are a few ways of sizing a ring. Some rings can be stretched by hammering them against a steel mandrel. This leaves hammer marks out the outside of the ring which need to be filed, sanded and re-polished. ¬†That technique is not an option here with this beautiful soundwave already engraved on the outside, hammering it would surely damage the design.
In order to achieve this sizing I needed to grind it out from the inside using my favourite titanium rotary file. It is quite aggressive and created that big pile of metal shavings! These shaving tend to get stuck in your hands like little splinters.
It sounds very luxurious to have splitters of gold in your hands but in reality the really hurt if don’t pick them out with tweezers right away. Luckily goldsmiths always have tweezers around. They are used to pick up hot metal when soldering, position delicate design elements and sort through and examine stones. I usually use my prized stone tweezers for this job. These tweezer are only used for stones therefore they are sharp and most importantly clean.
As with all jewellery techniques it’s important to be patient and go slow and steady. You want to make sure you are removing material evenly so the walls of the rings stay the same thickness all the way around. This requires a steady hand and a gentle touch.
Once the correct size is reached a hand file is used to smooth out the deep¬†marks the rotary file has created. Then three or four grits of sandpaper are used to prepare the ring for polishing. Polishing involves two or three polishing compounds which leave a greasy film on the surface of the metal. In between polishing compounds it is important to clean your piece so you do not contaminated your polishing buffs. Cleaning is done using an ultrasonic cleaner, it actually uses soundwaves to remove the dirt and greasy from the ring.
When polishing is completed the ring is steamed cleaned with¬†a machine which uses heat and pressure to create steam. This removes any residue from the¬†surface of the ring and steams away water marks so the ring is ready for presentation!
SOUNDPIECES was the first line of jewellery I created.¬†Before I started working with sound waves directly I was working with other¬†motifs of music culture in order to record history.¬†It started in 1999 when I decided to cast the 45 adaptor in silver and wear it as a necklace.¬†
¬†‘Soundpieces’ has definitely taken a back seat to ‘Soundwave’. ¬†It is a collection which is full of untapped potential. It will require work put into order. However I am waiting for the day I get a chance to relaunch it.
I’m not sure when I defined it as a collection but this is one of the many artist statements that accompanied it.
¬†Soundpieces is a line of jewellery that uses motifs inspired by contemporary music culture.¬† Its purpose is to communicate tradition, record history, promote unity, and give individuals a way of expressing their identity.
Cultures are precious, helping us define ourselves and shaping our relationship with others. ¬† Members of a society rely on symbols to structure their thoughts, express their values and form their identity. ¬†These cultural markers provide the limits of their customs and traditions.
Soundpieces uses the traditional goldsmithing techniques of casting, wax carving and hand fabrication to remove objects from their original environment redefining what makes them precious. Viewing forms out of context provides the object with a venue for further study.¬† Questioning its placement solidifies an object in time and records its relevance to society today. The subtleness of these pieces allows the wearer to communicate commitment towards their culture.¬† The recognition of these objects creates a bond between the wearer and the admirer, helping people to connect on a more intimate level.
With the racing pace of today’s technology many musical mediums are quickly rendered obsolete. These pieces make reference to the impermanence of our society and define a culture using a visual language. Combining these symbols with precious metal transforms them from disposable objects into cultural artifacts, they will not be forgotten and will continue to arouse interest, trigger a memory or become a learning experience.¬† Creating tribute to these mediums preserves them for years to come. Future generations can study these pieces, their design process and materials to draw a conclusion of the values present in today‚Äôs society.
Creating ‚Ä™‚Äéwedding rings‚Ä¨ is one of the perks of being a goldsmith. ¬†It is such an honour to be asked to create something which symbolizes love, commitment and one of the biggest events in most peoples lives.
When I created the concept of ‚Ä™Soundwave Jewellery‚Ä¨ over ten years ago I knew‚Ä™¬†wedding‚Ä¨ and ‚Ä™engagement‚Ä¨ rings would be the perfect application for the technique. I rarely listen to people’s recordings as I feel they should be kept personal. ¬†However sometimes I listen to the beginning to verify the sound wave ( my biggest fear is mixing up sound waves so I’m a little OCD at triple checking them), other times I need to edit them for design purposes. Every time I catch a little sound byte of people’s ‚Ä™wedding ring‚Ä¨ recordings I also get a little emotional. There is so much thought, meaning and love put into them.
With every ring I make I try and put that same emotion back into the ring during its creation process. Being asked to create someone’s wedding rings is a privilege and a sacred task. Objects of meaning carry vibrations within them and I want to be certain the vibration of the rings I create is ‚Ä™Love‚Ä¨ .
These sterling silver pieces have been oxidized to make the sound wave black.
What does oxidization¬†mean? It is a surface treatment which use the properties of ¬†metal to change its colour. Basically the silver has been pre-tarnished¬†using a chemical called liver of sulphur and form a patina on the surface. It is potassium sulfide and it smells like rotten eggs! If you have ever hiked a volcano you know the smell, its hard to forget.
As an interesting fact you can achieve this look by placing your sterling silver in a plastic bag with boiled egg yokes for a few days, the results of this method vary.¬†The method used by professionals is a little more controlled. ¬†The pieces are slightly heated and dipped in the solution 3-5 times or so, heating the piece too much can result in the black fading, Alternatively the solution can be heated, it is a little more smelly this way. I usually create a double burner and heat the solution on an element under a fume hood. Inhaling to much sulphur is bad for your health so proper ventilation in key.
It is important to rinse and brush the silver between dippings to ensure an even coverage. Neglecting this step will result in a patchy look and affect the longevity of the treatment.¬†Because the technique is a surface treatment it can rub off with wear on surface that come into contact with the skin. Beware is you are buying a black sterling silver ring which is flat and has no textural details on the surface. Most likely this will fade with wear and your ring will end up silver coloured again.
You can see Soundwave Bracelet at the back of the picture is not quite finished yet. Because the solution is a liquid it is hard to target a specific area. You need to colour the whole piece and remove what you do not want to be black.
To finish the pieces the oxidization is removed from the surface of the metal ¬†using various grits of sand paper. The oxidization stays in the grooves of the deep etching of the the sound wave.
Now you know how its made! If you have any questions please leave them in the comments below.
Yesterday I finished this pair of Custom Soundwave Rings in white gold . I love making wedding rings, it is such a privilege to be asked to help commemorate such a joyous life event. Creating something that will be worn everyday and become truly a part of someone can sometimes be a lot of pressure! As with all my work I always work hard to make sure that no detail is overlooked. Nothing leaves the studio unless I would wear it myself with pride.¬†
When the bride received the rings she immediately gave me a call. ¬†My heart jumped into my throat, my first thought was that something must be wrong with the order. I took a deep breath and prepared to listen and get my problem solving cap on.
As it turns out¬†she was calling to tell me she was thrilled with the rings! Whew! I was thankful for another happy customer and humbled by her effort to take the time to call.¬†
It made me realize how uncommon communicating by phone is these days. ¬†Hearing someones voice adds a different¬†dimension to communication. We have all been guilty of reading too much (or too little) into a text message or an email. I’m sure all of us have learned that an email is not the right medium to express sarcasm. ¬†Ask anyone over 30 and they will tell you that dating was much easier before the text message.¬†Hours have definitely been spent debating over the meaning of these written communications. ¬†We even go so far as to read these correspondences to others to gather their opinions on the matter.
When we communicate vocally we hear the small intonations in a persons voice. ¬†We can feel their vibrations. It is these vibrations that keep us connected to each other. ¬†We need to listen to respond and be present in the moment. I immediately know if my mom is ¬†scrolling through FB while we are on the phone. You can feel when the person is not paying attention and it doesn’t feel good because there is a loss of connection. This connection we feel on the phone is completely absent from text messages. In fact when communicating through text we expect people to be disconnected because we are as well. . It’s kind of like saying “I want to share this with you but I don’t want to deal with your response right now” There is no hiding on the phone. Your silence will defiantly be challenged with a ” Hello? Are you still there?”.
A phone call happens in the moment, there is no hiding. It is real. You cannot write and rewrite, delete and start over. There is an honesty in this form of communication. There is more of a flow to the conversation. It is not being interrupted by twitter notifications or an instagram post.
A good phone conversation is a unique, one of a kind experience shared between two people. It cannot be replicated or cc’d to a group. It is like a little gift. ¬†The phone is such a pleasant way to communicate. ¬†I immediately called a friend just to say hi. Call someone today!!!
This is the phonautograph, it is the earliest known sound recording device!
Invented by √Čdouard-L√©on Scott de Martinville in 1860 it is said to be the first device to have captured a recording of the human voice. Similar to the phonograph invented by Thomas Edison, the phonautograph inscribed the visual image of sound waves onto a rotating cylinder. This means that in recorded history we have only been able to see sound waves for 155 years. That qualifies as recent history!
The technology to hear the recordings he created was only recently developed. In fact his recording itself was only discovered in 2008 and is know as the earliest recording of singing predating Edison’s recording by 28 years.
Apparently Scott’s intention was never to play back his recordings it was to see a visual representation of his voice. He was deeply invested in the study of stenography and hoped to create a form of stenography which could accurately record a whole conversation. Ahead of his time was √Čdouard-L√©on Scott de Martinville!
Obviously I feel an affinity towards Mr. Scott de Martinville. I like to think that I am continuing the work he started. Of course I can not do this with out the help of all my amazing clients, so in essence we are recording history together.
In order to record history objects of quality must be created so they can stand the test of time. Jewellery is a perfect medium to do so if it is created using quality material and proper craftsmanship. Fashion jewellery is fun for play however when grandma passes and the time comes to look into her personal treasure chest items of low quality are usually discarded. It is my personal mission to make sure that your recorded memories are created with the thought and integrity they deserve so we can all learn from them in the future.
I hope √Čdouard-L√©on Scott de Martinville would be proud.
In the first week of April 1949 RCA Victor presented a whole new way of listening to music:¬† The 45 Record
The release of the short play, seven-inch 45 record was in response to Columbia’s new format, the 12″, playing at 33 1/3.¬† While both new vinyl formats had their advantages over the heavy, shellac covered 78s with the 45 record RCA set out to revolutionize the listening experience.
Introduced as a well thought out system 45 records were¬† colour coded in reference to style and came with their own specialized player. The new turntable, exclusive to RCA had a 1.5 inch diameter spindle which stacked ten 45s.¬† These records were played in the order the listener assembled them and allowed for one hour of uninterrupted play, a big deal before the luxury of iTunes. ¬† Perhaps there was some commercial rivalry between RCA and Columbia however like most revolutionary inventions there was more thought put to this then just gimmicks and marketing ploys.¬† RCA set out to improve the sound quality of records, address their functionality and create a brand new listening system.
Advertisements in Billboard magazine screamed its praises, “the world’s fastest record changer”, “compact and light!”, “convenient 7 inch size”, “distortion free playing surface”, and they were right.
The 45 speed was chosen specifically to make the music sound better and decided by a mathematical equation* , the turntable had its own 1.0mm stylus with a 5 gram weight, the reduced record speed allowed for mircogrooves, finer grooves assimilated into a smaller space, and the records had a raised edge to prevent the grooves from touching when stacked.¬† So what’s with the big hole? In order for the record to pick up speed when dropped on the platter a lot of torque was needed.¬† The small hole on the records would stretch out causing the record to spin unevenly and affecting the sound quality. The larger hole reduced wear keeping the hole round and sound intact.
With its convenient size, affordable price and new lightweight material the 45 gained popularity.¬† Jukeboxes replaced their 78s with 45s and went from having 30 songs on offer to over 100. The newest singles of the day were released on 45 to a hungry audience of young folk who enjoyed their compact size and cheap price in comparison LPs.¬† From 1948 – 1950 the competition between 33 1/3 and 45 was on, known as the War of the Speeds the buying public and record companies alike¬† were unsure which format would prevail.¬† Eventually the 12″ record playing at 33 1/3 became the most sought after format for full length albums and 45s settled nicely into its niche for single song releases.
In the 1950’s when turntables were released with three speed option ( 78, 33 1/3, 45) and a standard small spindle something had to be done about the size of the hole in the 45 record. Enter the 45 adaptor, that little¬† flexible plastic insert we all know and love.¬† As any record collector will tell you there are many styles of the 45 adaptor.¬† The patent on the first one was filed in 1951 and issued in 1955. James L.D. Morrison is credited as their inventor.
In the end the 12″ record would become the most common format releasing full length albums as well as singles.¬† However for a short period the 45 record spoke to the heart of music buyer of the time and still inspires loyal followers and collectors today. From single buying beatlemanics, Jamaican dancehall DJ’s to the hands of indie grunge rockers¬† fans of the 45 record all cherish their format of choice and respect the various styles of adaptors that allow us to hear the music.
* Calculus was used to show that the optimum use of a disc record of constant rotational speed occurs when the innermost recorded diameter is half the outermost recorded diameter. That's why a 7-inch single has a label 3 1/2 inches in diameter. Given the CBS vinyl groove dimensions and certain assumptions about the bandwidth and tolerable distortion, a speed of 45 rpm comes out of the formula."¬†http://www.history-of-rock.com/record_formats.htm
It’s the first week of September which means back to school for our youth. The Royal Conservatory of Music has written this very informative article about the benefits of music education. ¬†The article is focused on children and their development, however as adults we can also benefit from taking music classes or being involved ¬†in a musical environment.
My favourite quote of the article is: “Music is inherently emotional, and musical memories are among the most visceral and vivid. Consequently, musicians must learn how to connect with people on an emotional level.”
The article goes on to say that even jamming with friends can create an environment of sharing, co-operation and collaboration. ¬†As our adults life become more busy and stress over takes our thoughts we can become more focused on our own lives and issues and less able to commiserate and share in others lives. ¬†This create a very insular environment and can lead to a self-centred attitude towards life.
Part of the article focuses on the long term health benefits of music education. Music education can offer improved cognitive function, help in recovery of an illness and can even compensate for hearing loss in older adults. Seniors with music training are able to differentiate between sounds in a noisy environment allowing them to carry on a conversation even with their hearing loss.
So next time your with a group of friends pick up some spoons and belt out your favourite old time sing-a-long song!
Read the full article here: ¬†https://www.rcmusic.ca/sites/default/files/files/RCM_MusicEducationBenefits.pdf
If you’d like to take your music education to the next level here are some resources in Toronto you might want to look into: