Bell for The Philadelphia Folk Festival

Folk Fest Logo from 7th annual Festival.


View of the main stage.


A fun and challenging commission for 2010 was to design
a wearable bell for the Philadelphia Folk Festival.

This music festival is an annual gathering of
musicians and enthusiasts which dates back to 1962.
It a great experience worth looking into.

Folk Festival Link

The bell would be wearable and made in bronze.
I based the design on the festivals long standing logo.

It is a smiling face with the feel of a hand made
woodcut as you might find in folk art.
Sometimes it is a radiant sun.
Often it is depicted on a banjo.

The round character to the logo was
perfect for a bell shape. I also wanted to
include the banjo image in the design, but
not as a handle.
The solution was to include the banjo as a
separate image which would form the front of a bail
for attaching a hanging chord.

I did a lot of experiments with scale and positioning.
The logo image itself proved difficult to translate into
a very small metal ornament.
It took many hours to distill the image to its
essential forms and carve then by hand on the wax model.

For the back of the bell I inscribed the term widely used
by the regular festival aficionados"Folk Fest".

The model shown here is the first prototype.
I refined the visuals further and adjusted for harmonics
in the final edition.

The clapper or "stone" that roles around in the bell
is another tiny face inside the bell.



Sketches for the bell model.


Prototype of bell to work out design viability, only 2 were made!

The final bell. Improvements were made in detailing, overall shape,
and acoustic adjustments.


Bells cast in varying bronzes and ready to be polished.
The tray to the left of the cutting pliers contains the tiny faces that will go inside each bell.



A previous project. This bell was made for the Grounds Crew who build the phisical structurse of the festival.