creation of a bell requires the use of simple materials - such as soil, water, beeswax,
hemp and bronze; it is then the artisan, with his mastery and the secrets that are
handed down from generation to generation, that will transform this artifact - the
bell - into an extraordinary musical and sacred art object, which will accompany
the life of the communities that host it, marking their times and celebrating their
most significant moments. Making a bell requires a long work that varies, depending
on the features and size of a bell, from a few weeks to several months. The
phase preceding the actual casting takes a long time because it is necessary to prepare
a model consisting of three overlapping clay molds.
start with, the drawing of the first wooden silhouette with the profile of the bell
is made. This, used as a compass, will serve to create the clay molds.
first of the three molds to be created is called 'anima' (soul): it consists of a
hollow brick pyramid on which several layers of clay are applied, until the mold
is completed, sanded, and takes the inside shape of a bell.
the anima - after having applied a mixture of milk and ash that will later serve
to separate the molds - several layers of clay are overlapped so as to to form the
second mould, the so called 'false bell'. The false bell is made of clay, but it
already has the size and thickness of what will be the final bronze bell. After a
perfect smoothing of the false bell, friezes, crests, wax figures and inscriptions
the 'mantello' (cloak), namely the third and final mould, is created. Always overlapping
layers of clay - first with a brush and then manually - a mold of adequate thickness
is created to accommodate the cast bronze and withstand the pressure of the metal.
Internally heated by burning coals, the cloak of clay gradually dries, and the wax
images and inscriptions previously applied in positive on the false bell melt, thus
remaining imprinted in negative directly on the inner surface of the cloak. This
process is called 'lost-wax casting'.
the drying has occurred, the three molds are separated and the false bell is discarded;
the cloak is repositioned on the core, so that the empty space between the two can
accommodate the cast bronze.
shape obtained in this way is buried in a pit in the ground, which is then completely
covered with soil. In this way, possible subsidence or movements of the cloak during
the melting phase are avoided. This modality also helps to contain the pressure exerted
by the bronze.
this point, the melting can eventually take place: when the oven is hot and the metal
melted at the right temperature, the founder opens the oven door and releases the
molten bronze which, by flowing through specially created channels, reaches the form
and the cavity between the cloak and the core.
at any step of the process something went wrong, the fusion will fail, and the work
done up to that moment will have to be started again from the very beginning.
the cooling phase, which takes several days, the bell is removed from the pit and
cleaned. Freed from the cloak and the core, the bell is finished with care with hammers,
files, chisels and burins.
the end of the work, the sound is tested, tonalities verified with special instruments
and a clapper adequate to the size and shape of the bell is added.