Viking Inspired Whorl Ideas~ New Glass Whorl Styles


It’s time to talk about whorls again! For the last several years I have been making handmade glass whorls that are used for Viking style spinning. Slowly but surely, things keep moving along. First there were single whorls, then pairs of whorls that spun together, and now I seem to be in a phase of making longer single whorls. My busy brain is always ready to pursue a new idea; then it seems I abandon old things and move on! 

There are a few different design ideas affecting my whorl making these days. First and foremost are single conical whorls, which are a bit longer and thinner than past styles. The shape simply appeals to me. It seems like the extra weight near the center is making them spin nicely and possibly longer than the shorter, wider whorls. The conical shape also allows extra weight at the outside edge. Some extra added glass ‘bobbles’ can add yet more weight at the outside, as well as visual interest. 

The next thing is colors and designs~ oh my! This is where I get excited. I’ve been making a lot of two-tone beads with a line of something or other swirled between. Sometimes there’s a touch of frit (wee bits of broken glass) involved, or goldstone, or a glass that changes colors and reacts in the flame. I may even add a little handmade murrini to jazz up the bobbles between the colors. There’s often a bit of a ‘happy accident’ involved (and sometimes an unhappy accident~ ha,ha). The style can seem rather simple, but again, the look just hits me right.

  Finally, there’s encased silver foil with frit or murrini or something trapped within or added on the outside. These are not new techniques for me, but not something I’ve concentrated on much in the world of whorls. An additional part of this idea is something I am calling an accidental whorl, though it has now become an ‘accidentally on purpose’ whorl. These babies tend towards a round or bicone shape and were originally made to be worn. One day I made one that seemed just a little bit too large to actually wear and still stand upright. I popped it on a spindle and, well, it spun like a top. Because these were originally meant as wearable beads, the holes are straight. 

One more little flight of thought~ one may wonder, why not just make whorls like the wearable beads? Can it be done? Of course it can, however… I often find that a particular type of bead begs a particular shape or design. I could not tell you why! Have I ever made a bead that is similar in shape and design with a tapered hole? Why yes, but it seems it is not something that my brain directs me to do with ease!

Here’s that red accidental whorl spinning its little heart out!




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