Uzun Ince Bir Yoldayım
"Uzuuun ince bir yoldayım," my teacher sang as he handed me the thick metal wire that I was to file into the tapered conical body of a snake. The only wire he had on hand was square shaped, so I could see the truth in his words- my road that evening would be long and narrow. I shared a wide-eyed stare with a fellow student across from me who has been working on making chain for a few weeks- an even more painstaking process- and we laughed. We even looked up the song by Tarkan on youtube and played it for motivation. And then, after annealing the piece of wire, the filing began.
I had asked my teacher the week prior if he could teach me his snake ring design. Coincidentally or not, I had a snake dream this week leading up to class. I told my teacher about it jokingly and he countered with a few questions. "Was it a big snake?" he asked. "Yes. A python," I answered. "What color?" he continued. "Yellow," I replied. "Ah! Then it should be in gold!" he exclaimed, laughing.
As I continued to file, my piece started to resemble a large nail or porcupine quill, and I felt like I was whittling a silver shank. I shaped the thin spike for what felt like an eternity. My hands cramped and fingers locked into their curved grip. Yet, it was strangely meditative. There is nothing like the repetitive act of filing towards a goal to bring about a satisfying sense of peace.
When it had been sculpted to an adequate snake body shape after an hour or so, it was time to flatten the head. My teacher took the piece and beat it with a hammer to widen the thicker end. "Yilanin başini küçük iken ezeceksin," he mused. Our friend the calligraphy teacher, who had walked in a few minutes earlier, translated, "It is better to smash a snake's head when it is small (young). It's an idiom that is usually used when someone has waited too long to take care of something they should have taken care of a long time before." "Ah," I though, mentally wincing at the thought of my personal to-do list. I am always grateful when he's around- his translations and love for language always make the class more rich.
Finally, I cut a shape that mirrored the shape of the snake's head from a 120 micron silver sheet and set about the task of giving it volume. This was done by using a pan filled with a pock-marked softer metal. It resembled the surface of the moon and I added a few more craters while doming my snake's head. Although I was nowhere close to being finished, it was time to pack up and go. I cleaned up and said my goodbyes, stepping into the night's drizzle and cold. The road home would long and narrow, but the class had infused me with extra energy and I didn't mind.