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Something Very Different

July 25, 2015

full moon3, sun

night side

A few years ago I was at a crossroads.  Our gallery was suffering the same dismal finacial fate as a lot of other small businesses were in our area.  The call to make spinning wheels for a living was becoming stronger and stronger.  With a lot of thought, soul-searching and, yes, prayer, we turned the page on a lifestyle that had served us for many years and ventured into something new, fresh, and very challenging.  I was completely unknown in the world of fiber arts and actually that world was a big unknown to me as well.  One of the first steps I had to take was to improve my axle assembly.  I am not a machinist and this needed the skillful hands of someone who could take my idea and turn it into aluminum and steel.  But great machinists don’t work for cheap.  We had to scrape together every last available cent and I ordered 50 units.  It has proven to be a very sound investment and my wheels took a giant leap toward being a professional product.

Now, why am I re-telling my story with these pictures above it?  The fact is that I have been making my wheels steadily and my axle supply is running short.  I have enough to last awhile but before long I will need to re-invest in more axles. I try to keep my prices as low as I can but considering how long each wheel takes to complete, I never get ahead.  So, I came up with an idea.  To celebrate the making of wheel #50, I decided to make it very special and do things I’ve never done before.  A brand new frame was in order and I came up with the most graceful wheel I have ever seen.  It will spin just like the tried and true but the looks will be one of a kind.  Since my roots are in Alaska and some of my best art, including several wheels, feature Northwest Coast art, I thought it would be good to pull out all stops and lavishly make use of this style.  The theme will be the sun on one side and the moon on the other.  I will use traditional colors to stain the wood.  Northwest coast red on the sun side and northwest coast blue on the other.  A raven and eagle design circle the sun, while a bear and wolf prowl around the moon.  You might notice in my mock-ups the extensive use of abalone.  This was and still is a great adornment in NW coast art.  It will add flash and color to this wheel in a mighty way.  The designs on the frame are negotiable and will take final form as the wheel progresses.  Along the edge of the frame as well as on the treadles will be more art.  And the main figures of this wheel will be sculpted into the hubs.  The anthropomorphic faces of the sun and moon.

For the first time in years I have no particular spinner in mind as I design this.  It comes from the heart and from the desire to do something very special.  I feel so fortunate to be able to make wheels for a living and I am grateful for all the people who have encouraged me along the way.  If you think this wheel might belong in your collection, please let me know and we can talk.

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From → Gary's Thoughts

10 Comments
  1. InJuneau permalink

    That wheel does speak to me. Has it spoken to anyone else yet? I live in SE Alaska, and it’s a stunning piece.

    • Thanks for your interest! One other person wrote to me about this morning. Please feel free to email me if you would like more info.

  2. What a gorgeous wheel! I agree; it is the most graceful wheel I have ever seen. I think you do your best work when you stick to the motifs you know and love. If I were your consultant, I would say “Stick to making THIS design, and this design alone, only tweeking slightly for individuality.” Of course, that would defeat the purpose of making #50 special, but….

  3. HUGHES1681 permalink

    Beautiful the blue does it for me wowza! Nice work!!!!!

  4. HUGHES1681 permalink

    love it wish I had more money I would buy this too.

  5. Oh my~~~ I think you have visited my dreams. I love this design. I will be intouch.

  6. Donna MARTIN permalink

    I love this wheel can you tell me the price? I too am from the PNW and grew up on this native art .

    Donna Martin

    ” One must still have chaos in oneself to give birth to a dancing star”

    Date: Sat, 25 Jul 2015 02:21:25 +0000 To: teakajoy@msn.com

    • Thanks for your interest, Donna. I am charting new water on this one. My top art wheels have been selling for around $2500. This one will be a more complex design with who knows how much more time in the extra art. I’m thinking it will go for around $3200. This will depend on the buyer’s personal requests too. It might be nice to incorporate sunstones and moonstones on the big wheels but you know that this would add to the price. Please feel free to email me for more details if you wish.

  7. Tagati permalink

    Lovely, lovely, lovely! A beautiful piece of work worthy of a gallery.

    I’m still in love with my Nippon wheel.

  8. peacecat9 permalink

    Takes my breath away…so graceful and dignified.

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