I recently discovered the spindles of Ken and Marilyn Mocker, who run Silly Salmon Designs. I’d never heard of them, but a well placed ad on Etsy (advertising works, yes) caught my eye and soon I was down the rabbit hole. Silly Salmon works with sustainably produced woods that are either unusual colours or highly figured, and they combine them in extremely strikingarrangements in both drop and supported spindles. Through them, I’ve had my first exposure to blued ponderosa pine (its blue colour is due to a fungus that attacks the tree while it’s growing), the almost unnaturally white American holly, and my personal favourite, blue mahoe. So what the hell is blue mahoe? Well, it’s a tree that grows only in Jamaica and Cuba, and produces wood that can vary in colour from blue grey to olive green to cream to purple to brown, often all in the same specimen.I can see the appeal of working with it, given the surprise colours that come outwhen it’s turned.
The spindle above has a whorl made of blue mahoe and curly maple–if you look closely, you can see that while this piece of blue mahoe is a deep purplish brown, there is a little creamy streak. That apparently didn’t show up until the whorl was turned; it makes me think of a meteorite in a dark sky. This spindle is also on the heavier side, which I prefer, and is about as close to perfectly balanced as I’ve found in a spindle.
(I, uh, may have bought three spindles from Silly Salmon recently. This is the last one… for now.)