A collection of artisan spindles by John Hunter
woodturning a spindle

Creating a Spindle

I’ve been woodworking for thirty years (okay, 45 if you count the first time I sharpened a pencil in kindergarten). I’ve been making spindles for about twenty years. I started making them shortly after my wife took up spinning. She started out on a drop spindle that she purchased at a fiber art fair. The spindle was okay in the sense that you could make yarn with it, but it was about as exciting to look at as the instructions on a bottle of shampoo. I remember looking at that poor spindle and imagining how the whorl could have been shaped so that it not only worked more effectively, but looked like it actually enjoyed itself while doing so.

tibetan spindle, russian spindle

A Collection of Spindles

I believe that a spindle should not only work magnificently, but should be a work of art as well. To that end, each spindle I create is a little bit different than the one before so that no two are exactly alike.

russian spindle on lathe

This Russian spindle is just about finished and ready to be parted off (taken off the lathe).

From the choosing of the wood to the moment I’m standing at the lathe, I’m thinking about such things as color, shape, and contrast and what I want the final spindle to look like. I think about embellishments like denim and copper and hand spun yarn. But in all of this musing, I don’t neglect the importance of such things as rim load and balance. To me, all of these ingredients make for a beautiful spindle that is not only pleasing to the eye, but a pleasure to spin with as well.

I live in historic Mount Carroll, IL with my wife and children. In 1993, I received a bachelor of arts in art and design from Columbia College Chicago. While I enjoy drawing and painting (especially watercolor), my favorite medium is wood. And my favorite way to express myself artistically is in the making of spindles and other fiber tools.

Historic Mount Carroll

The Straddle Creek

I take custom orders, so if you have something in mind, such as a particular spindle in an exact weight or length, just let me know. I’d be happy to make it for you!