BEADS

MALI HAND-STAMPED CLAY SPINDLE WHORLS

MATERIAL:
CLAY

Mali hand-stamped clay beads were originally used as spindle whorls for spinning wheels, and were used to spin cotton, wool, yarn and other threads. Modern replicas come in a variety of shapes but are individually carved and stamped with traditional decorations, geometric patterns and designs. Once the beads are fired, they are dipped into a white chalk, now often ground freshwater shells, which gives the indented carved patterns a white color.  Any excess white is wiped off of the bead before it dries on the colored part.  These beads are often black, dark brown, or light brown, depending on the type of clay that is used to make them. The clay is pounded and sieved into finer and finer pieces and pieces of old clay pots are often added to the clay mixture for additional “strength.”

For pieces that feature Mali hand-stamped clay spindle whorls, click here.