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.


Anonymous said...

Margaret this is wonderful!!!


Anonymous said...

Lovely tale Margaret. Thanks for sharing.

Sue Sanderson said...


I'm sure years ago when holidaying in your area that I saw books about Lovespoons? Maybe that would help your research?

I too loke lovespoons - they are very beautiful.

Micki said...

I like your digital work and enjoyed reading the story behind it.