Why make a spoon so embellished and quirky that you can’t use it and it takes weeks or months of spare-time to make?
Carving Welsh lovespoons is a craft and a fine art that is well worth the attention of any artist/craftsperson. It can be represented by examples of simple elegance or of intricately cunning work. It can be the honest intrinsically valuable, first efforts of a beginning carver or the results of long trainined eyes, hands and finely developed sensibilities. But it will always be more than what it is in in a brutally factual sense; just a wooden spoon, albeit intricately fashioned. It will be an assiduously pursued work that comes from the heart, mind and hands all harnessed to the task, a labour of love.
This craft or fine art is a wide open receptacle for meaningful motif, tribute to historic styles of decoration, exploration of abstract forms, stylised or realistic representations, symbols, lettering or just letting a finely figured and sympatheticaly finished piece of timber speak for itself.
Lovespoon carving is not an art where form follows function, but where the very function it is purpose-made to have, has become in itself the intangible expression, function abstracted from itself, merged with and referenced in the form. The lovespoon functions purely and simply as a gift, its ‘spoon-ness’ is at once essential and vestigal.
With lovespoons, decoration and embellishment do not bring with them the imminent danger of vulgarisation as they could possibly do to other forms, but they ‘are’ the form. they express the sentiment, they tell the story of the gift given, from the giver to the receiver. This is an art where the carver’s sincerity itself counts for something, where even the beginner’s efforts have value.
No philosophical movement gave rise to lovespoon carving, no manifesto established it. The art of lovespoon carving has grown from anonymous seed as beginning carvers carved for someone who meant something to them. This is an art available to anyone, even a beginner, who wants to take it by force and make a gift statement to another by all the possibilities this fine art of lovespoon carving has to offer.
What do you need to labour at this impractical task?
Only a relatively small piece of timber is necessary for the carving of a lovespoon, few tools are necessary and many can be easily made by the carver from cheap materials.
After the initial roughing out and any fretted work has been completed with a scrollsaw or fretsaw, a large part of the work can be carried out, in comfort, at a table or even while sitting in an armchair ‘watching T.V. When a few simple preparations are carried out the carving of details and much of the finishing can indeed be done, tidily and inconspicuously, in an armchair using only those pieces of time usually taken and held captive by the T.V.
How do you carve a welsh lovespoon?
Get a book on how to carve welsh lovespoons. There are many books available on the carving of welsh lovespoons together with patterns.
I will be from time to time showing, on this web site or on another linked blog, my own progress on various projects including the carving of welsh lovespoons. I will also be placing eBooks on this site with patterns and step by step instructions on the carving of particular welsh lovespoons.
Before long you will be designing your own spoons, and I would recomend ‘Fine Art of Carving welsh Lovespoons’ by David Western for the history, information on making plus the fine and inspiring work of several lovespoon carvers, including David Western’s own inspiring and innovative lovespoons. David Western’s book also includes patterns.
In addition see ‘History of Lovespoons, The Art and Traditions of a Romantic Craft’ also by David Western.
David Stanley (http://whimsicalwood.blogspot.com/)