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Spindles of Joy

0524 2 lg

The most exquisite spindles have arrived! Gifted woodturner Avi Wasserman has sent us several exclusive designs from Israel, and each one is a work of art. You must see!! One spindle is decorated with myriad unpolished semiprecious stones---turquoise, pearl, “and whatever I can get my hands on,” writes Avi from his home in Ness Ziona, a very old, small coastal town south of Tel Aviv.


Another line is made up of gorgeous whorls with geometrical patterns that go right through the wood. Yet another spindle is a beautiful Star of David made of silver dots on the whorl, on a backdrop of dark rosewood. Avi harvests this wood, as well as olive and mulberry, from local trees that need trimming. He trims the trees for free and then saws the wood into planks, drying them in his shop (in the basement of his home) for at least one year before turning them into these fantiastic objets d’art.

Born in Montreal, Avi learned to turn and carve wood, and to make furniture, at a very early age. However, only many years later did he learn to cut wood and fibers so cleanly so that they did not require sanding.


In 1960 he emigrated to Israel, where he lived on a kibbutz, did his stint in the army, and met his wife, Shula. Avi studied electronic engineering before moving to Ness Ziona and becoming a professional woodturner. Eventually he went to England and trained with a world-class wood artist. Then, years later, while corresponding with a friend in Salt Lake City, the word “spindle” came up. Avi was shutting down his woodturning business, but, as he was still way too young to retire, his friend suggested he try making spindles. Avi had never heard of this gadget, so his friend sent him some of his own work.


As Avi was looking over the newly arrived spindles, his younger son Doron came over and said, “You can do this much better! Show him!” Avi credits Doron’s response with getting him started in the spindle business. Avi made up six spindles and sent them to his friend, who forwarded them to spinner and dealer Toni Neil, near Chicago. Toni took Avi under her wing, and “under her wonderful and knowledgeable guidance [his] line of spindles emerged to what it is today.”


Avi now considers himself retired, teaches woodturning and spends most of his turning time making artwork, which he gives as gifts. A dear friend of his family’s, living on a Kibbutz in the Negev region of Israel, happens to collect tops, and now Avi is fascinated with top making as well. He writes that “every year and especially for her, I try to come up with at least six new top designs to keep my brain working.”


We think his brain is working very well. We are head over heels for his spindles! Thank you, Avi!