Sunday, October 11, 2009

Spindle Whorl Beads

Fibers can be spun in many ways - with a wheel, by hand or with a drop spindle. A drop spindle needs to be weighted so it will keep spinning as the spinster draws out the fibers. The weights are called whorls. The whorls used in Africa are often made of clay that has been incised, dried in the sun, and accented with whitewash to bring out the design.

My spindle whorl necklace is made of polymer clay. The dark whorls are made of a blend of black, gray, and translucent FIMO decorated by impressing designs made with straws, gouges, screwdrivers, et cetera. They are then cured, sanded, highlighted with paints, sanded again and polished, polished, and polished some more. The outcome is a very satisfactory heavy bead.

All the beads in this example are made from polymer clay. The small tan beads are made using a method I perfected in which a "log" of clay is pierced with a long wire and rolled carefully so the clay lengthens along the wire and is then cut into small rings (a "how-to" will be forthcoming). The slightly larger discs are just balls of polymer clay squashed flat and pierced with a bamboo skewer. The tan beads and the black discs are not polished in this example.

The beads and spacers are strung on cotton cord. Matching earrings are available.

$75 - c. 2009

1 comment:

  1. I really like that center bead. I've seen it before, but I still like it. It looks like a cicada. Glad to see you posting!