Something other than pots! Last year I was approached by the lovely Rebecca of Needle & Spindle about the possibility of making some ceramic spindle whorls. Spindle whorls? These intriguing little objects are something straight out of ancient history - they were/are used for spinning yarn. Rebecca is an amazing spinner and knitter with a keen interest in ancient technologies (check out this blog entry of her's to get the picture).
I didn't know a thing about spindle whorls when Rebecca approached me about this but a few google searches (specifically on viking whorls, at Rebecca's direction) gave me the picture and I set to making some. They were a pleasure to make and it was a delight to be part of what seemed like a project from another era.
Rebecca is a generous and eloquent blogger and she wrote a couple of blog post about that batch of whorls, and took some lovely images - check them out here and here. I especially loved the second post in which she details how she took the whorls bush camping and fashioned a shaft out of bracken and proceeded to spin her yarn and then dye it with leaves, all while camping! Now that's true low-tech ingenuity.
This week I've been making a new batch of whorls because there were a few things I think I didn't get right the first time ... so I thought I'd share the process.
|First I form the basic shape, flattening small balls of clay by pinching|
|At leather hard stage I smoothed the surface a little, ready for carving the designs.|
|The freshly carved designs, inspired by Victorian flora|