Have Ewe Any Wool?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

American Folklife Festival - Hand Carved "Love Spoons"

Welcome to the next "installment" of the American Folk Life Festival.....

The hand carved wooden spoons were awesome! They're definitely works of art. The craftsmanship and love that goes into each piece is amazing.

The spoons are called "Welsh Love Spoons". These spoons were traditionally given to a young woman by the man who was courting her. The symbols carved into these pieces of art have different meanings. It's believed that the young man that was too shy to express his feelings in words would express them through the symbols carved into a "Love Spoon". Some of the common symbols that are carved into these spoons can be seen here: Welsh Love Spoons

The variety of symbols and the detail on each spoon is amazing! I was fascinated by both the process of creating the spoon and the significance of each design. The tradition of giving a hand carved spoon wasn't limited to Wales, but with the strong Celtic traditions that still reside there, they've become one of the best known groups of carvers. The photos on the walls (in addition to the spoons shown above) show the immense variety of spoons - from the simple to the elaborate.

These are a couple of my favorite spoons. They were not the most ornate, but they were certainly exquisite! I think that the elegant simplicity is what appealed to me the most. The branches on the spoon on the right were just beautiful - I can almost picture the tree it was carved from!

Any woodworkers out there? I found a fabulous tutorial on how to make these spoons yourself....if you're so inclined. They even have included some free patterns to get you started. The process is fascinating! The 10 page "Welsh Love Spoons Tutorial" will step you through the process so you can make your own love spoon! How cool is that?

In addition to the smaller carvings, the Welsh woodwork extended to larger pieces as well. I just loved this dining room hutch. Just imagine the family china and crystal elegantly displayed in this exquisite piece!


  • At 9:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank you for sharing those wonderful pictures!

    Here's a great blog on lovespoon carving and the author's also written a book on how to do it, with patterns -


    The artist in your pictures was lovespoon carver Mike Davies from Cwnbran in Wales and that piece of furniture is called a Welsh Dresser.

    Thank you for sharing those wonderful pictures and I really wish I could have gone to see it!


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