Eddy Faber Bobbins team at Knossos

Why Eddy Faber turned to turning bobbins

Eddy Faber Bobbins is really a team effort between myself and my partner, Jo Buckberry. We are both archaeologists and met while we were studying our PhDs at the University of Sheffield. Jo is to blame for the fact that I now turn bobbins.

Jo was first shown how to make lace by her Grandma when she was little, but only really started making lace when she was a postgraduate student at Sheffield. She was taught by Phyllis Brown, who was an amazing teacher, and we both owe her and her husband Richard so much.

After we moved to Bradford for Jo’s job at the university there, Jo went on one of the weekend lace courses at Aston Cantlow run by Christine Springett (in 2009, I think) and loved it. The year after (2010), I was allowed to join her for the weekend, and I went on the bobbin turning course at Aston Cantlow run by David Springett and Stuart Johnson. I had never tried wood turning before, and thought it would be good fun, a laugh and a good excuse to have a weekend away with Jo.

I was hooked.

I loved bobbin turning. It was so much fun. David and Stuart were wonderful teachers. Rather than being a rigid, one-size-fits-all course, they had this brilliant double act where they allowed you to follow your own route to learn and experiment with techniques and styles that interested you. It must have been a nightmare for them trying to deal with so many different ideas and approaches over the weekend, but they ran the course with humour and enthusiasm that just infected everyone there. The icing on the cake for the weekend was the fantastic food made by Sue Johnson.

Eddy and his mentors

After a couple of weekend courses at Aston Cantlow, I bought my own lathe in December 2012. I made bobbins for Jo, our friends and just improved my turning skills. I continued to attend the course at Aston Cantlow until David, Stuart, Christine and Sue decided to stop running them in 2014. Attending the course, while having my own lathe really helped my learning process. I could practice the skills David and Stuart taught me, while also trying out new ideas and techniques. If I encountered a problem, I could ask them at the next course, and they would show me how to work through it. I cannot thank David and Stuart enough for the time and patience they gave me, and the enjoyment I have from this amazing hobby.

As an archaeologist, I have worked at the Greek National Centre for Scientific Research in Athens, the University of Nottingham and the University of Bradford. My field of work is technologies in the past, especially artifacts made from pottery, glass or metal. The aspect of these that I find fascinating is how they were made: what materials were used, how these materials were manipulated by the craftsperson, what techniques the craftspeople used to form and decorate the artifacts. This interest fits perfectly with making lace bobbins. I love antique bobbins, especially trying to work out how they were made – the little tweaks individual craftspeople used to create their unique style and decoration; the way they have developed and changed older styles or techniques.

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My aim is that I use this knowledge, together with the way I was taught to turn bobbins, to inform the way I design and turn bobbins in the future. I tend to have a new design for each event. Keep an eye out for new designs at forthcoming lace events.

Eddy Faber will be bringing Eddy Faber Bobbins to the Makit Christmas LQ&N Fair at Cranmore Park on 2nd December 2017. You will also be able to buy from and chat to his mentors, David Springett and Stuart Johnson.

You can find Eddy Faber Bobbins on Etsy at: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/eddyfaberbobbins

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