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How About A Griffin This Time?

January 10, 2014

griffin designThe next wheel I will be building is for Tina, who likes griffins.  I never have thought about griffins much but after a little snooping around on the internet, I am getting eager to start building!  I just sent Tina an e-mail with this drawing and told her I would be sharing the fun design process with others who check our blog.  Here’s the plan:

Tina very much like the  handles I’ve made on dragon themed  wheels and suggested I change it to the griffin.  So even though mechanically the latest wheels are more sophisticated, the idea still works.  Now comes some really new things!  Instead of making the wheel as a surface to carry art, I wanted to make something that has the feel of a cross between a griffin and a spinning wheel.  Since the griffin itself is a cross between a lion and an eagle, this seemed a pretty logical extension of that idea.  So this griffin is sitting and the lion’s body and back legs become the frame at the spinner’s end of the wheel.  Extending from the front won’t be my usual single leg but will be two legs with the eagle’s clawed feet carved from wood.  Both of these ideas are brand new and I will need to be at the top of my game to pull them off.  The most interesting thing in this plan, however is the relationship between the main wheels and the pitman rods.  On all other wheels the main wheels have become a great surface for some type of art, whether it be carving or painting.  The pitman rods have been designed to be  second level players, though they are shaped elegantly and thoughtfully.  On this wheel those rolls are reversed!  The pitman rods become the wings of the griffin and are elaborately carved and painted in a somewhat Egyptian style.  Tina loves blues and purples so I think that is the direction I’ll go toward – with some metallic powders for a bit of flash and drama.  The big wheels will become artistically a background.  Mechanically they are still the heart of the spinning wheel.

So, that’s the plan right now.  I do need to figure out a way to include the lion’s tail.  Any ideas out there?













  1. Paint the tail on the treadle, maybe with some bas-relief carving? As if it’s curling around a haunch?

    • I think this might be about the only option. However, sometimes inspiration strikes as I go along and that is always welcome. I’ll keep you posted!

  2. HUGHES1681 permalink

    Love this wheel would you do two if so how much? Love this!!!!!!!!!

    • It is impossible for me to ever make the same thing twice, given the nature of wood and my hands. But there are so many ways to vary a theme. I did a raven wheel for a spinner months ago and later followed it up with a raven and eagle wheel for someone else. You can find and compare these wheels on our Facebook site. If you want a griffin wheel, we would need to discuss what things really excite you about wheels and griffins. I know that Tina loves purple and blue. But I can see a griffin wheel with a lot of red as well. She likes cool toned wood but a person could use a lot of other wood as well. Tina will be keeping her wheel at home almost exclusively so weight is not a key issue. You might prefer to take yours out a bit more and therefore need something lighter. Please feel free to e-mail me any time and we can discuss in detail what you are looking for. And keep checking this blog as I believe we’ll be posting some fun things here shortly!

  3. Janet permalink

    my first thought was as Michelle mentioned…to paint or inlay or burn a tail into the wood of the treadle. But as I watch my cat when she sits, she curls her tail around her feet. Maybe you could use a scroll saw to cut out a tail, or perhaps use some kind of substance you could mold into a tail, that would curve around the back legs.

  4. Thanks Janet, I think I have a solution that will work but can’t make a definitive plan until things progress a bit. I do love the comments I have received from spinners like you though and will pose more design questions in the future. When I was a painter doing framed pieces for galleries I worked alone almost all the the time and then the work would make its public debut. This is more fun as I feel I am just part of a continuing creative process that involves the hands and vision of many people.

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