Sunday, 24 February 2019

Whorls, Weights and Beads - Ancient Ways

 Whenever I can I love to visit museums. I'm always looking out for anything to do with the craft of spinning, weaving and dyeing wool. I like to see old drop spindle whorls, weights for weaving looms and ancient beads for decoration. These are often made of clay or glass. Such small everyday objects are so fascinating as they give us an insight into the times past.

 A recent visit to Winchester museum inspired me to try and make some whorls, weights and beads of my own and I wanted to produce them in the old way. Now this is where having a sister who is a potter and a husband who is wood turner really comes in super handy!! 

 So first I begged some clay from my sister and made some very naïve simple shapes and forms. I pressed or drew various patterns into the clay form.

 Then allowed them to dry. I knew that my sister was going to do a "Pit Firing" so I handed my little whorls,weights and beads into her safe keeping and she was able to place them into her kiln.

Please pop over to her blog to read all about her Pit firing kiln session.

 I am absolutely thrilled with the results! The ancient way in which they have been fired means my little clay creations have taken on beautiful colours. The natural materials used in the pit to decorate them makes them unique.  

 Now I handed the whorls over to Skipper in his work shop where he hand turned a spindle to fit so as I could construct a Drop Spindle for hand spinning
I shall use the weights to tension any odd warp thread on my loom. I might use the beads in a knitting or weaving project by incorporating them into a bag or item of clothing.

The real adventure here was to try to understand and feel a little of the history of spinning, weaving and dyeing, so to have some whorls, weights and beads which look like the museum items that  inspired them gives me a happy smile.

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