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New Wheel is Finished!

2019-07-29 15.49.38This wheel is meant to appeal to a class of people who love a certain series of books. You know who you are. If you are not among this group, I hope you will enjoy seeing this wheel anyway.  It was fun to build and challenging to incorporate so many unique elements into the design.

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This side is even wilder than the other.  Somebody is just a little crazy and it might be me, or maybe the guy who wrote the books.  One way or the other this wheel is heading out soon to its new home in Minnesota.  I will miss it!

 

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New Wheel Taking Shape

20190628_141414Renae, my new wheel client, is a fan of a book series  involving a place called Discworld.  Like with so many other wheel requests, I had not heard of DiscWorld. She sent me a book with many illustrations and I have used it as a guide as I respectfully try to make a wheel using this theme but avoiding any potential copyright infringement.  The concept involves a flat world  being carried on the back of four elephants who in turn are standing on a great cosmic sea turtle.  In this first photo you can see the head of a turtle emerging from the handle of the wheel.  On the front foot of the wheel is the beginning of a piece of luggage that will have a bunch of human feet surrounding the botttom.  Don’t ask me why – I am only a simple craftsman.

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Between the two treadles is the home of a small and rather pathetic little dragon named Errol.  I happened upon a nice copper fireplace match holder and modified it to make the dragon’s lair.  I felt it went along with the theme of the books. There are paintings being planned for the big wheels and other art additions too. Stay tuned!

Polar Bear and Friends

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Daphne lives in Florida and maybe that heat got to her. She commissioned a wheel based on themes from Norway.  I have managed to put almost everything on her list into this wheel. At the top is a polar bear. Not visible in this photo are square glass tiles in aurora colors that make a graceful transition from bear to handle.  Daphne wanted reindeer and both big wheels have paintings of them.  This one has two reindeer wandering around in a snow covered world.  It is hard to show clearly in this photo but there is a stained glass panel in the front leg. This glass is perfectly true to the northern lights. A snowflake design reminiscent of Norwegian weaving highlights the footman rods.  The little troll lady is still spinning on her own miniature Olympic wheel.

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Daphne wanted northern lights in the paintings too so this side features the reindeer against the lighted sky.

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Here is a close up of the bear.  It is not as fearful and large as real polar bears, but Daphne wanted a more story book  style critter.  I will be curious what she names this fellow.  Also, right below the bobbin and flyer is a little silver star studded with rhinestones. Daphne wanted the North Star somewhere near the top of the wheel.  I still need to make a few knobs and details but this wheel  will be ready to mush on down to Florida pretty soon.  Thanks for looking!

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The Dog Was Sick, But Everything Else Was Great!

Once in awhile I get a day away from the shop.  A week ago we were driving through Sequim, WA, and saw a banner over the road announcing an upcoming Shepherd’s Festival. On a whim I called the organizers and was able to secure the last table as a vendor.  Usually we have nothing to sell but this time I did have Wings of the Dawn and a few shepherd’s crooks.  It was meant to be.  Here are a few photos of our time there.

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The one-day festival was held in the old Sequim Grange building.  This area used to be mostly farmland yet even now after it has been “discovered” and developed, there are still farms and plenty of old barns to enjoy.  Unlike OFFF which is huge and very busy, this event was laid back and casual.  Here Rebekah is giving a young spinner a chance to use her Foothills model. Amy’s raven wheel is on the floor at the left and it still is spinning just fine even though it is an early wheel.  And it still draws a crowd!  Wings of the Dawn is on the table.

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One lady wandered by our space with a lamb draped over her shoulder.  My daughters couldn’t resist dropping their fiber and petting the young animal.  I believe the owner called it a bummer lamb as it had been abandoned by its mother. I was sitting behind the table but finally could resist no longer and had a chance to pet the lamb as well.

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My step father, Charlie, was able to spend the day with us.  He really enjoyed watching all the people and especially the activity around our space.  He had only seen my wheels as I was working on them.  This was his first time to see them actually making their way in the real world.  He especially enjoyed the lamb kabobs and a cinnamon roll too. Every time I turned my back on them my daughters would sneak away and go shopping.  You can see them in the distance buying fiber.  Charlie was left to tend our space.  You can see a few shepherd’s crooks on the table.  I sold one to a nice gentleman and Charlie decided, as an old Missouri farm boy, that he needed one as well.  Hopefully he will not go buying any sheep.

There were a few llamas, a petting farm, a sheep shearing demonstration, and a few alpacas.  There was supposed to be a sheep dog demonstration but the dog was sick.  You know its a small, family oriented, friendly event when there is only one sheepdog.  (it is feeling better, by the way.)

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A New Model for Tiny Spinners

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In my world the wheels are always turning.  I have begun to think there might be an untapped market for tiny spinning wheels, if you look hard enough.  I am building a wheel for a nice spinner from Florida who loves all things Norse.  Her wheel will feature a polar bear, the northern lights, reindeer, the north star, and even trolls.  In this photo you can see a little grandma troll sitting outside her spinning shed with her very own tiny Olympic wheel at her feet.  This little grouping is removable from the large wheel but ordinarily  nestles in between the treadles. I will post more photos as the big wheel progresses.  This little wheel at Grandma troll’s feet is just a prototype.  However, if you are under six inches tall and haven’t found a wheel suitable to you stature, please contact me for a wheel.  I believe I can make a somewhat functional wheel this size.  It might be a bit tricky to find fiber this fine though. Frog hairs anyone?

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Ready for Flight

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This wheel, called “Wings of the Dawn” is finally finished and ready to fly to a new home.  The spinner who tentatively put her name on it has decided to go for another wheel in the future. So this one is for sale. If you are interested please contact me at

olympic.wheelmaker@gmail.com

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Both sides are pretty much the same but it makes me feel more symmetric to show both.

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Between the treadles on the lower frame is a small embellished box that contains the orifice hook and the little hex wrench. Below the handle and between the two big wheels is the speed changing knob. You can’t see it from this angle but it is capped with a little bronze dragonfly.  Just another little wings motif. I guess that’s about it.  We will miss this wheel around here. Amy tested it and didn’t send me back to the shop for tweaking even once.  It is nice and smooth.  Thanks for looking!

 

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Wings of the Dawn

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“Where can I go from your Spirit?

Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there;

If I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

If I settle on the far side of the sea,

Even there your hand will guide me,

Your right hand will hold me fast.”

Psalm 139:7-10

Though this wheel is a long way from finished, I really wanted to share the progress thus far.  I am waiting on critical parts from my machinist so have had to work backwards a bit,  but the art is the heart and soul of this effort.  This verse is an old favorite of mine.  Thank all of you who ventured guesses about my choice.  You all presented great verses and a wheel could be inspired by each of them.

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I felt it best not to use any particular bird as my goal was to focus on the wings as a spiritual and infinitely elegant means of travel.  So I used no model and felt no need to be anatomically correct.  The paintings on the big wheels, along with the arch of little crystals at the top, also are just meant to convey the idea.  Originally I had painted roaring sunrises – until it dawned on me (no pun intended) that dawn is a period of time BEFORE sunrise. In fact I learned that technically there are three dawns. The astronomical dawn happens first and is mostly important to astronomers.  The nautical dawn is next and mariners found it the ideal time to get their bearings at sea.  The civil dawn is the one right before sunrise and it is what most of us probably think of when we think of the dawn.  I also learned that the light conditions of each of these dawns vary and that the light is called twilight, regardless of whether it is in the evening or morning.  I never knew that!

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I felt that the more elegance I could add to the bird, the better.  On its breast I have incorporated a round abalone pendant and a vintage jewelry piece that I think may have been a shoe clip.  On the bird’s back there are little abalone squares  nestled among the feathers. The entire bird is painted with metallic powders and they shimmer and shine when you see them in person.  The bird lifts off the wheel by the way.

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The hubs are reduced down to about minimal size. There is a small abalone disc in the center of each with rings carved into the wood surrounding them,  Ultimately the screw holes will have screws and covering them will be wood caps. I had two beautiful old green glass pendants from some vintage lamp and I used them in the footman rods.  Another little touch of elegance!  The treadles are catching too much light in these photos as they are facing the sky, but they are tinted in the colors of the bird and the design echoes a sea shell.

I guess that’s about it for this update.  I have so enjoyed making this wheel.  You could say it was inspired!  If any of you are interested in purchasing it, please contact me at:

olympic.wheelmaker@gmail.com

Thanks for looking!

 

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