A friend recently asked me what kind of spinning bowl I like to use... I guess I have a bit of a loaded answer?
It depends on:
- the material the spindle is made of... and the material the bowl is made of
- the shape of the spindle
- how fast I want the spindle to turn
- what position I want to sit in while I spindle
Top: Pyrex finger bowl / Malcolm Fielding Dervish; Bottom Left: Glazed Pottery Bowl / Bristlecone Twindle; Bottom Right: Wooden Thai dipping bowl / Bristlecone Glindle
I have spindles with tips made from everything from lampwork glass, Swarovski crystals, stainless points, gemstone, and various types of wood!
Bowls are every bit as diverse. I have bowls made from glass, ceramic, pottery, wood, and plastic.
Wooden Thai dipping bowl / Bristlecone Glindle
Some spindles have a long tapered point and it doesn't much matter what shaped bowl you stand them in. Others (like my Swarovski Crystal pointed spindles) have a short stubby point which basically means you need a shallow flat bowl or you have a hard time finding a place to balance within the bowl. Other spindles, like my Tibetans and Malcolm Fielding Dervish have a larger circumference whorl than the skinny Russian style spindles, and therefore don’t fit comfortably in a high narrow bowl.
Grocery Store Ceramic dipping bowl / Texas Jeans Russian
If you want a spindle to just fly ? you need to have as little friction as possible between the spindle tip and the surface it is spinning upon. (Oh my goodness a use for the university Phsics classes they made me take!)
Pyrex finger bowl / Malcolm Fielding Dervish
A fine pointed wooden spindle has a satisfying zip on a really smooth surface like glass or ceramic. Something like a well balanced metal tipped Russian on glass just flies! Super fast spin is necessary for spinning very fine yarns (like gossamers and frog?’s hair that need so many twists per inch to hold together properly) but if one is wanting to spin fatter more lofty yarns with less twists per inch ? it may be desired to spin on a surface that slows the spin down. You might try spinning a wooden tip in a wooden bowl. The resulting spin is soft and a little bit dampened.
Care should also be taken to avoid damage to both the tip surface and the bowl itself with repeated use. A metal tip can bore a hole in a wooden bowl. An abrasive bowl can wear away at the tip of a glass spindle. Mismatched surfaces aren't good for either the spindle or the bowl. Glazed Pottery Bowl / Bristlecone Twindle
Some people like to spin on basically a little platform with a small indentation in it. This requires the "bowl" to sit at a specific angle, and usually for the spindle to remain upright throughout the spin, draft and wind processes. I am lazy. I like to sit cross-legged and slouch on the floor or lean back with both feet under me while sitting on the couch. I find a medium sized, fairly wide, not too curved bottom bowl works best for my relaxed posture style. I tried the "dent" style bowls and glass pendants and while they are beautiful, they just aren't for me. Grizzly Mountain Arts Spindle Bowl with Ceramic Insert / Bristlecone Unicorn Goddess
So what’s my favorite bowl? Depends on the day but generally I like a bowl with medium characteristics all around - a middle of the road weight, maybe 2 inches deep, about 3 inches across made of some smooth surface that matches with the material tip of the spindle I am currently obsessed with