Monday, July 15, 2013

beads and berries

Grace gave me some clay to play with. I had forgotten how much fun I could have, and what a mess I could make. Rolling the soft clay between my hands and playing with different shapes made me feel like I was a child.

My inspiration came from the clay bead whorls that I've been reading about. Most are very primitive, simple in design. I wanted to make a few different shapes and see for myself if one shape had any advantage over the other. As I roll the clay between my hands, I worry about wobbles and whorls being off balance. I thought and thought about ancient civilizations, and those who made crude bead spindles before me.

My bead whorls, set out to dry, look like kabobs on the skewers.

The clay whorls still need to be fired. I'm reading about pit firings and gathering fuel. We are heading for a heat wave this week, so I doubt the pit firing will happen anytime soon.

I cannot resist trying out a few of the whorls..and decide not to wait, I grab a handful of some fluff to tie to a distaff, and start spinning. A smile on my lips, I am delighted to discover that I have made an excellent spinner! Such satisfaction! A bit of clay and a bamboo skewer, and I have a fine tool. No wobbles! I spin off the point of the bamboo skewer, in-hand style.

As I build the cop, I decide to cover the bead whorl. I've read about and seen some of this on display in (virtual) museums. It makes good sense to keep spinning without removing the whorl.

Once I made the jump (with my yarn) to the other end of the bead, I had to build the cop on the other side.

Several lengths of spun yarn had to be drawn before the cop was built up sufficiently to cover the whorl. At this point, the added weight of the spun yarn on the spindle is giving me added spin time from one flick of the shaft.

Soon the cop covers the bead whorl completely! Time to leave this task, and pick up another.

Thankfully, we have had a bit of sunshine to help ripen the berries. I'm getting good yields, and the chore of picking and freezing has to be done on a daily basis. While I'm picking, it often seems like I turn my back on a berry for moment, and it ripens. Red Raspberries are fragile things, when they are just right, the fall from the cane into my outstretched hand.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

Beautiful beads and those berries, yummmm. What kind of raspberries do you have? We have some that have thorns and no berries have appeared. We are ready to dig them out and try a different type. So frustrating, especially when I see pictures like this. :)

cyndy said...

Hi Lisa!

My Red Raspberry patch is of the summer bearing variety, and they are several years there are primocanes and floracanes both present.

How old are your canes? If they are very young, you may have to wait a year or two for fruit. Also, did you notice blossom this past spring? If you had blossom and no fruit, likely you have some sort of pollination issue, or disease. Hope this helps...

Cathy said...

I just was at the Denver Art Museum for the SPUN exhibit. DAM opened a new room for textile descriptions. In the spinning "shadow box" for lack of a better word are examples of spindles. One resembled your bead and stick... I thought of you! And here you post something similar.


Oh, raspberries... lovely.

Teri said...

Out of all my bead whorls, I like the round ones from Mali the best. Lynn DeRose told me that they would sometimes just knock a bit off the whorl to balance it. It might look damaged to us, but they didn't care as long as it worked.

Most recent whorl is at the bottom of this post:

It's an interesting shape, with a flat end that I chose to use for the cop side. It's from Mauritania.

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