Today’s positive post: secret passion, carved wooden spoons. You have no idea how interesting they are! Best known is the welsh love spoon. Traditionally presented as a gift of romantic intent. Decorated with symbols of love,it was intended to reflect the skill of the carver.
If the girl accepted the spoon, she would demonstrate her interest in him and they would commence on a relationship, which is the origin of the word ‘spooning’.
This was a custom that was not confined to Wales, but happened across Europe, especially in Celtic countries. Young men had a lot of time on their hands during the long winter evenings, and some would carve all kinds of things such as utensils or toys from spare pieces of wood.
Although the tradition of carving lovespoons is not unique to Wales,the quality there is the best in the world.Wales was a poor society whose youth couldnt afford gifts of expensive jewellery,& therefore would do their utmost to create as beautiful spoons as possible
Here are some Scandinavian love spoons
There has been much debate on the significance of the different symbols and motifs used in the carving of lovespoons. Many of the young carvers were shy and unwilling to show their emotions, and this would attempt to convey their true feelings through the use of various symbols.
Many of the symbols to convey love are familiar throughout Europe.For instance,a chain would mean a wish to be together forever,a diamond would mean wealth or good fortune,a cross would mean faith,a flower would mean affection,or a dragon for protection etc
The earliest spoons were not very intricate, and would have a very simple design with perhaps the initials of the couple & a hole in the top of the spoon handle to hang it on the wall.These early carvers would use very simple tools,only a pocketknife,an axe & perhaps a saw
My favourite craftsman is David Western and his website is informative and interesting
It must be remembered that the custom of ‘engaging’ and having a Wedding ceremony was not common in rural Wales until the end of the 18th century, and the majority of young couples would simply co-habit.