Recently a couple of customers have contacted us and sent us pictures of Ed Jenkins Lark™ set next to a spindle made by another maker. Looking at the two spindles side by side and set one over the other they are very close to Ed’s Lark, an original design created by Ed through much trial and error over the course of several month.
The reality is that until Ed developed the smaller versions of Turkish spindles to our knowledge based on research we’d never seen any style of Turkish spindles other than the big “standard” sizes that were common around 2004 – 2007. At that time there were a handful of Turkish spindle makers, each with their own distinct style making it easy to distinguish between the different makers. Most of the Turkish spindles weighed close to 2 ounces and had shafts that were 10 – 12 inches long. Ed also put his own take on the standard Turkish spindle refining it and bringing the overall weight down.
Ed dreamed of making a miniature version. Encouraged by a customer who daily commutes by train, he spent many months working on his first small prototype, the spindle that eventually we introduced as the Turkish Delight™. Ed created the Delight in 2008.
In the spring of 2009 he spent two months creating a slender armed, elegantly shape spindle which we called the Lark™. During the summer of 2009 he worked to developed the Kuchulu™. Followed by the Aegean™ in 2010. The Aegean™ was inspired by a spindle bought in a Greek marketplace. Even though it was based on an old spindle Ed did lots of modifications to put his own design spin on it so it looks very little like the one that we were shown. In 2013 he designed the Egret™ followed in 2014 by the Finch™.
Until Ed had begun designing these different sizes on the theme of a Turkish spindle there was NOTHING like them on the market.
Now we’re seeing several makers who are imitating Ed’s creative designs. We figure some of them had no idea that Ed developed these styles, they’ve been seeing them around and online and assume that they’ve been around for ages.
Ed knew from the beginning that it was inevitable that eventually other woodworkers would imitate his spindles, but he hoped they’d have enough skill and pride to modify it into their own unique style, as did Jeri Brock with our input and blessings. As a customer who’d bought a couple of our Delights™ Jeri emailed us when she was started thinking about making spindles herself. We were open and supportive of her endeavors knowing that she desired to find her own way of making them different from Ed’s To our great delight she’s done so making wonderful, unique little spindles.
Knowing that there is more demand than supply we certainly don’t wish new spindle makers ill! We just wish they would make a new style that everyone, immediately upon seeing, can say with assurance, “That’s a ____ spindle!” To be able to know without a doubt when they’re looking at a Jenkins.
Ed has a fascination with the creative process of making the best new style of spindle that is possible for him, without computers, and to continually explore the world of spindle making.
Ed says, “I’m not going to lose sleep over this. It would be nice to have my intellectual property safeguarded from copycats but that is a bane of woodworking. The innovators and creators always have their work copied.”
ETA 7/28 9:40pm We hope people understand that we’re not angry or casting stones at other makers! There have often been times throughout history when the same basic ideas come together at the same time to different people. Ed even had this experience in 2009 as he was finalizing his development of the Kuchulu. He was playing with the idea of a tiny round bottom whole spindle. Lo and behold he discovered another maker had already developed the concept and had been selling them for some time. Out of respect to that maker Ed contacted him to see if he’d mind Ed making small bottom-whorls. The answer was a polite yet firm no. Which made sense to us. The thing is, if Ed hadn’t happened to mention his plan to the right person at Sock Summit he would have had no idea that someone else was already making almost exactly the same spindle as Ed had devised. So yes, brilliant creators can have the same thoughts. 🙂
There is indeed room for other fine spindle makers!