Wild, strong and full of character – that’s how I see the new bobbins from Jan de Maertelaere’s bobbin turning workshop.
Fine Bobbins in amazakoue wood are replacing the original Fine Bobbins in rosewood that are now sold out. Initially, the bobbins were made from Jan’s remaining stock of rosewood at time when tight restrictions were placed on international trade in rosewood due to its endangered status. The embargo is still in place, and the last Fine Bobbins from the original rosewood batch were sold out in Wire Lace Supplies Christmas Sale in 2021.
Looking for replacement, I asked Jan to suggest an alternate dark wood for the Fine Bobbins.
From the provided samples I selected the Amazakoue wood. Also known as Ovangkol, Mozambique or Shedua, Amazakoue is a superior hardwood lumber from Central West Africa. It has a deep yellow ochre/brown colour with contrasting dark streaks running throughout the wood grain. Zebra-like pattern shows well even in the small size of Fine Bobbin. The smooth wood, enhanced by a superb finish which Jan’s bobbins are famous for, has a wonderful touch. This is an important feature for a fine lacemaking tool, and especially for the bobbin that is recommended for palms-up working style. Holding these bobbins is a pleasure and twisting them in palms is an easy task – they move smoothly, swiftly and without a hitch.
And, as a bonus to connoisseur lacemakers, the Amazakoue, as a tone wood, promises a fine music on the lacemaking pillow!
The new Amazakoue Fine Bobbin for Wire Lace is available exclusively in my WireLaceSupplies shop on Etsy.
European lacemakers can purchase the bobbins directly from Jan De Maertelaere in Belgium.
Why Are the Dark Wood Fine Bobbins better for Silver Lace Work?
Pure silver is wonderful to work with and the Fine Bobbins are the perfect tool for a very delicate lace work.
When one project is finished and there are wire leftovers on the bobbins, it is easier to leave them for the next project instead of rewinding them back to a spool. Each manipulation, including the gentle winding and re-winding, affects the wire structure and as a result, its malleability. In the delicate lace work these changes are perceptible: with each handling the silver hardens, becomes a bit more brittle, and therefore slightly more difficult to tension. Leaving wires on the bobbins is a practical solution, but it poses a challenge:
Silver naturally tarnishes over time, especially in humid environment of maritime regions. My studio in Metro Vancouver is close to the seashore and fully exposed to moderate oceanic climate elements. Despite all preventive measures the silver wires tarnishes really quickly in this environment. Tarnish is actually a deposit of silver sulphide on the metal surface, which accumulates over time and eventually creates a black layer. When the tarnish develops on the wire wound on bobbins, the dark sulphide deposit can stain the wood. And it very obviously shows on Fine Bobbins made from light woods, like maple. For the perfectionist kind of a lacemaker (aren’t we all?) the dirty bobbins can be a bit of an eyesore.
The dark wood, such as Amazakoue, is forgiving, and makes it possible to store the silver wire on the bobbins until the next project. When the bobbins are emptied, they can be wiped clean with soft cloth.
The finished lace is easy to clean as well, and because the tarnish does not harm the silver beneath, its original lustre can be fully restored.
There is so much potential in lacemaking with precious metals, and I hope that the Fine Bobbins in amazakoue wood will find their way to serve many creative lacemakers/jewellers!