Sunday, January 08, 2006
The story of the lovespoon
Click for larger image
The images on this second page are just a few of the sketches and digital work that went into the finished design shown above. I enjoy this part of the work so much that I have hundreds of images ready to use, but I still play, designing more and more images which could be turned into textile art if I applied myself to it properly.
I have been asked about the story of the Welsh lovespoon.
This particular spoon was made for my Nain(grandmother) by a farmhand at a farm called Yr Aden near Caernarfon in North Wales. Yr Aden means The Wing of a bird in Welsh and I would like to find out the origin of this name one day. My Nain was a dairymaid at this farm.
Like all lovespoons it was carved out of one solid piece of wood, whittled with a penknife. Even the chain, cage and three balls were carved out of the one piece of wood. This was a very light coloured wood and I was told as a child that it was an apple tree. I wish I had asked more questions then, it is too late to have the answers now.
I believe the number of balls in the cage is how many children they will have, Nain was to have three. The chain which holds the cage means - together for ever. I know this lovespoon had vine leaves and grapes around the sides which meant that love will grow. The twisted stem meant two lives becoming one. A double spoon as this one had was for togetherness. Then there was an anchor on it which meant 'I want to settle down'. I remember the details, but when I try to put them together it disappears. Memories are so fragile!
Unfortunately for this young carver, for all his efforts he was not chosen. Nain chose a ploughman who had two large horses that he looked after, cleaning their harnesses and brass decorations until they shone. I remember his wooden chest in Nain's house when I was a child and I have one of these original brasses.
She did not have much happiness as Taid(grandfather) died from his injuries right at the very end of the 1914-1918 war and she was left a widow with two young children.
That is the story of my lovespoon. It's a great pity that this tradition was discontinued. Although some of the spoons carved today are beautiful, I have never seen one as perfect as my Nain's.
By the way 'cariad 'is the Welsh word for love.