Functional art

The nice thing (or at least one of them) of spinning on spindles is that you get these beautiful, functional tools, that may even be seen as art on their own. For example, look at the pretty Turkish spindle, which is ingeniously built out of three separate parts. When you have finished spinning, you can take out the three parts of the spindle, and voilà, you have a ball of yarn that you can ply from both ends!

2014-05-02 14.11.22
Just pull out the shaft, then the arms, and you will have a nice little ball!

Then there are the supported spindles. My main focus in spinning at the moment.
They are basically a pointy stick with a weight attached to it, but the variations that spindle makers come up with are endless and awe-inspiring. For example, this would be a basic supported spindle:

A bead spindle from The Spanish Peacock

Okay, this is not a basic spindle. A basic spindle might be a branch with a clay bead around it or so. But still. This is quite basic.
Even such a basic spindle can be pretty. For example, in this spindle, the bead is made of cocobolo wood, and the shape is quite elegant. Also, this spindle spins great!

You could also carve the whole spindle out of one piece of wood. And add a metal point to make it spin faster. Or even a gem stone…

Phil Powell spindles
Phil Powell spindles, made out of exotic woods like Hawaiian Koa, Snakewood and Gaboon Ebony. With gemstones.

Very classy! Especially for magpies.

Some spindle makers combine multiple different woods to make the spindles look special.

Silly Salmon Designs
Silly Salmon Designs Tibetans. The whorls are usually made in two different woods, and the shaft is yet another wood type.

Most spindles are based on the historic Russian (slender, fast, short spin) and Tibetan (bell-shaped whorl, slower, long spin) spindle types.
Some spindle makers draw inspiration from less-known ancient models like the pu yok and the tahkli…

Malcolm Fielding pu yoks
Malcolm Fielding pu yoks with titanium points. 

Some use gemstones, even in the tips.

Crowned MirkwoodArts spindles
Crowned MirkwoodArts spindles.

Yes, you can spin with them, there’s a narrower part just below the tip where you can flick them. Tibor from MirkwoodArts also plays with gold leaf and pyrography and he is inspired by the characters from Lord of the Rings:

Smaug spindle
This is the Smaug spindle, based on the dragon from The Hobbit.

Other spindle makers also love getting inspired by fandoms. For example, this Woodland Woodworking Tibetan in inspired by Dr Who:

TARDIS spindle
TARDIS spindle. It spins and it is probably bigger on the inside. I didn’t check, though. 

Today I received another nice variation on ‘the supported spindle’: a Glasspin (by Mingo & Asho). They were so kind to also include two beautiful spinning bowls as a Christmas present! These spindles have a glass focal to spin on, and they are adorned with beautiful pyrography. This one is called Diamonds and it reminds me of winter. This year we don’t have much of a winter here in Den Haag, so I’ll get my ice and snow fix this way instead.

The Diamonds Glasspin (which comes with a spindle bag) and two beautiful spindle bowls.
The Diamonds Glasspin (which comes with a spindle bag) and two beautiful spindle bowls.

Check out the details:

Pyrography scene
Pyrography scene
Glass focal with some sparkle in it
Glass focal with some sparkle in it

I admire the creativity of the people who make these beautiful-looking, perfectly finished, inspired tools that can also be used to make something else: beautiful yarn!

7 thoughts on “Functional art

    1. Thank you, Alicia! Not all of them live here anymore, but I’m very happy with the ones that I have! Do take a look at Glasspin. Their spindles are not only pretty, but they are also good spinners. I’ve been spinning on mine last night and I’m quite impressed!

  1. You have some beautiful spindles! I’m glad to hear you both enjoy spinning with Glasspins – I have just ordered 2 after lusting after them for ages. I can’t wait for them to arrive! They are gorgeous works of art from the pictures, so it’s also great to hear that they spin well too!
    @Spindleweb (on IG)

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