Wednesday, January 29, 2014
old spindles with a new twist
Chancay Spindle Whorls — Peru
800 AD - 1200 AD
A collection of five Chancay spindle whorls. The wooden spindles are painted with bands of varying colors. The terracotta whorls are carved and painted and vary in form. Condition is very good. A few spindles have minor losses and faded paint. Several whorls are chipped, but overall a nice group.
Sizes range from approx 9.5" long to 13" long.
From the first moment I saw an ancient Chancay Spindle Whorl, I was captivated.
There was something about that small photograph and description of them.
How wonderful it would be to actually see one, hold one, spin one, I thought.
And thought some more.
I often found myself daydreaming about them.
It was only a matter of time before I decided I needed to try and make one.
Last summer I played around with some clay and made some bead whorls. (link)
Finally, I've gotten around to finishing some of them. I've experimented with a sort of pit and saggar meets raku firings of my own making. Low temperature, no glaze but enough to give me a bisqueware bead. I've played with different ways to get some color and used different reduction materials.
The beads are glowing red when I take them out of the fire and put them in my little can full of saggar materials.
I've used things like coffee grounds, and grapefruit rinds, and handfuls of tow flax....an old hummingbirds nest, and broken pieces of a hornet's nest.....there have been hemlock pinecones, dried corn cob, wood shavings...chicken manure, dried herbs, etc.
After the smoke has cleared, I dump them in the snow.
It is a primitive technique, and the materials are simple.
I'm happy with the results.
And very happy with the way they spin!
I painted the shafts, and don't fix the whorls in place, but wrap the whorl with fiber. This way, I can remove the whorl when it becomes too heavy for the cop. The original Chancay spindles were most likely used as support style spindles, but I am spinning with them in hand, from a distaff.
So, I keep dreaming about those Chancay spindles, as I keep trying to make my dreams come true by making a few spindles of my own.