Carved Sheep Spinning Wheel Hooks

Here are a flock of recently carved sheep, heading to Black Sheep Gathering, 2018.  The dark sheep are made from glossy black Ebony wood, because….well the festival itself began in celebration of non-white sheep… and carries on strong some 44 years later.  At Black Sheep Gathering we celebrate sheep of all colors: grey, brown and black.fullsizeoutput_23a7Because there are brown & grey sheep, I’m always looking for nice wood to represent them.  Hope I find some in time for the show…IMG_7391.JPGAbove:  A block of Ebony, rough-cut on band saw, and marked for further carving with the Dremel tool.  I carve many different shapes, always aiming to obtain a comfortable grip, since these hooks are handheld tools for the spinner.  The black sheep still need their hooks, and I use piano wire for it’s terrific flexibility and strength.

Below:  Did you know that wood can be white?!  Isn’t that amazing?   These white sheep are not painted.  They are carved from the white wood of a Holly shrub, although I did darken face & legs.   All wood has some variation, so holly can be bright white or off-white, and of course carry the random markings naturally occurring in wood, giving it nice character.fullsizeoutput_23a6

The carving begins here at the band saw (for me….the often intimidating step).IMG_7024From band saw to work bench, where that Dremel wand and the wide assortment of carving bits eventually transforms the wood into a spinning wheel hook / orifice hook / fetch-hook.   Oh and a see a Diz tool lurking there; also sheep shape.fullsizeoutput_22f0

fullsizeoutput_1dbdAbove:  Note the white-fingered tight grip and the blur of the rapidly whirring carving tip of Dremel tool.  It takes hours to slowly carve away wood to reveal a shape.  Hours in a small, quiet room, wearing a Darth Vader-like dust mask.  In the show booth, I always keep a block of white holly to show the natural white wood, along with a partially carved shape; all to help customers visualize the effort required to carve our wood items.

Below:  Sheep Diz tools.  A diz (shown in use) helps focus the wool fiber through the hole and ~ seeming by magic ~  helps it cling together and you draw out the tubular lengths of wool.  Roll it into a bun and set aside for later spinning.Wool COMBS in use with Diz


fullsizeoutput_5dShown in figured, curly Masur Birch, with a shimmery satin effect.fullsizeoutput_234

If you make it to Black Sheep Gathering this year, be sure to stop by our Whimsical Ewe booth for a chat, and check out all the sheep hooks, diz, and needlefelt sculptures.

See you at the show!


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