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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.

daphne bear

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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New Project Takes Flight

wings of dawn

Sometimes it is important to be patient and rest before beginning a new project.  I am working with two spinners at the moment. One is out of contact and the other needs a bit more time to settle on her plan.  In the meantime I don’t want to get rusty so I have begun a new wheel based on one of my favorite Bible verses.  More on that later but there are some clues in this photo. It is truly a labor of love and will be very special to me.  But ultimately it will need to find itself under a spinner’s feet doing what it is meant to do.  It will likely be offered for sale sometime mid April. If  you are interested, be alert for my next post.  Or you can email me at olympic.wheelmaker@gmail.com.  Thanks and have a wonderful day!

 

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Return of the Ents

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When Shelley told me she wanted a wheel featuring Ents, those fantastic tree beings from The Lord of the Rings, I was very enthusiastic. And when she requested birds of the northwest, I was even happier.  But then came the challenge of taking a gnarly, rustic old tree person and turning it into a spinning wheel.  Well, after a few false starts and a lot of head scratching, I finally have something to show you. Nothing is finished and I had hoped to take the wheel to the woods for photos but today we are getting a late season snow storm. So these will have to do.  Here is the chief Ent. I call him Bobbinwood but Shelley is free to call him something else.

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Here is a photo of the entire wheel just to give you some context.  A lot of natural branch wood has been incorporated into this wheel. The great tall branch coming out of the Ent’s head is removable and comes with a piece of moss to tuck in around the socket.  Sort of an Ent toupée, I guess.

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Another view of the branch and toupée.

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I have always resisted the temptation to make a treadle look like a foot. In this case I had to make an exception.

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On this side I painted a Western Tanager, one of the three birds Shelley requested. I have never seen one but it is a beautiful bird. An Ent is watching too.

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This side features a cedar waxwing and a surprised Ent.  The third bird was not chosen as it is a type of woodpecker. I felt the Ents would not be comfortable sharing space with this guy!  When the weather cheers up I will take the wheel to the woods and take better photos.  Hopefully an Ent will show up for a visit!

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