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The Ugly Duckling - part 1.

Words and images by Sue Shaw


Way back in August 2019, Rainy Williamson, editor of British Fibre Art magazine, contacted me to ask if I would like to paint a spinning wheel which she would donate. Although we've never met, Rainy somehow knew that I would love a new and unusual challenge. Ultimately, the wheel will be either auctioned or sold, with all proceeds going to charity, and everyone's input and expertise having been given, free of charge. ...


After a somewhat traumatic journey through the postal system, the wheel arrived in Wooler, Northumberland. Opening the parcel revealed that more than just a 'paint job' was required. One leg had gone AWOL and another had fallen off. As volunteers, Doug Blakey and Philip Keay (from the local community workshop) worked on turning two new legs and making a stand for the main drive wheel, I started work on removing a previous paint application.

I have no concept how a spinning wheel works, and mistakenly thought it would be a fairly straightforward project. Rainy showed great patience as I forwarded photos and questions. The technical vocabulary of spinning wheels is a foreign language to me, but as work progressed I started to pick up the names of various components and a smidgeon about how a spinning wheel works.







Once the legs were in place, I could now move the whole wheel. The community workshop closed and I needed to find somewhere light, spacious and airy to start on the painting on the wheel; decide on a colour scheme and design

and choose paints and finishes. At this stage, the UGLY DUCKLING's feathers are still stubby and brown but my hopes were/are to see the spinning wheel transformed and ready to fly.....





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