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What I’ve been doing since I left Narnia

September 6, 2013


It finally dawned on me that we had sold our demonstrator wheel and had nothing for people to test at OFFF and an up-coming farm tour.  I got permission from Marcia to put her Narnia wheel on hold and have been working very hard on this new wheel.  My original intent was to make a  straightforward wheel with little art.  This was mostly to make sure that I finished in time.  But as I got to going I realized that a handle without something special is a wasted opportunity.  I have wanted to make a swan wheel for a long time.  So I made the head.


But just a swan head alone without a context seemed incorrect so I took an idea I used on the lady-of-the-lake wheel.  Using casting resin over carved and painted stones I created the feel of looking into shallow water.  The theme was still seeming incomplete so I added ebony pieces in two places on the front leg to bring down the black of the bird’s bill.  And then I inlaid three diamond shaped, faceted milky glass pieces into the frame.  That brought the classy white of the head down too.  The wood is left natural with only varnish over it.  It is mostly cherry but I used highly figured maple for the treadles and  accent places.  There are still a few more things to do, such as the handles on the end of the axles, scotch tension knob and guide, and hub caps.  The flyer shown is “borrowed” from another wheel just for these photos.  This wheel is for sale, but we can’t deliver or ship it until after OFFF.  Any one interested?


  1. Marjorie permalink

    Hello Gary- I am a member of your spinning wheel fan club living in Alaska. I have the good fortune of being able to attend the OFFF. I am thrilled to learn you will be there. I’m curious what you will be asking for the Swan Lake wheel?

    • Hi Marjorie, I’m glad you like the wheels and I’m glad you will have a chance to make it to OFFF. Actually My two daughters will be the ones from our area attending. They went last year and really enjoyed it. They are very able demonstrators and I’m sure you will like them. They will be sharing a space with the good folks from Compass Rose Farm. As far as price, – based on other wheels of this complexity it should go for $1600. A deposit could hold it for you till OFFF! Let’s see now, how do you make that smiley face thing?…… :)

      • Marjorie permalink

        Gary- I’ll keep my eyes out for Compass Rose Farms booth at OFFF. Do you allow test spins on your wheels? I may have to start budgeting for one of your beauties, but hey a spinner can dream….p.s. have you ever thought of crafting a Loon wheel (Gavia Immer) Common Loon???? That is my personal totem and I would be over the moon for such a thing of beauty.

  2. Hi again, The main reason we go to events like OFFF is to let spinners test the wheels. No matter how beautiful a wheel is, it only is a good wheel if it works. and its got to feel right for you. There are a lot of things to consider as you test and I’m sure you will have questions at that time. We can adjust some things to accommodate your needs. I also really appreciate the feed-back I get from spinners who have purchased a wheel. There is always room for improvement. And, I would LOVE to do a loon! I’ve painted loons over the years. I did a NW coast inspired loon painting once that I still feel was one of my best. By the way, I used to show in galleries in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Eagle River, and a couple in S.E. too. Miss those places.

  3. If you keep going like this, Gary, you will have created Noah’s Ark! LOL!

    • I think you may be on to something. I’m scheduled to do a wolf, a goat, some geese, an eagle, a griffin, and maybe a loon and a mermaid might be added. I never knew it would come to this!

  4. You should build a boat then, next. :)

  5. Kris B. permalink

    I saw the Swan wheel at OFFF yesterday, as well as a chicken wheel. The chicken wheel was lovely, but the swan wheel was incredible. I didn’t dare try it out since I just got my third wheel and haven’t even gotten it broken in yet, but you can bet I’m lusting after an Olympic wheel hard. Christmas list anyone? ;-)

  6. Laurie Farthing permalink

    I absolutely LOVE the Sherlock Holmes wheel, and I am an avid Dr. Who fan… Tardis wheel
    anyone? There have been so many Doctors though, that it would probably be difficult.

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