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Sunday, 9 November 2014

Love Spoons

Hello folks!

I realise that you still expect posts from me about my collections and new items that I've found, and though I'm not buying many items these days -  after 'finding' something very recently I realised the other day that I have another collection that you will not know about - yet!

Welsh Love Spoons.

The carving of love spoons probably dates back to the 17th century, when young men would carve from a single piece of wood simple utilitarian spoons for their loved one - probably with just their initials and a simple hole to hang up the spoon likely using only a penknife and a saw.
Traditionally they would have used sycamore, as this is the type of wood which is well suited to use as a cooking utensil, though they could also have used oak, box, and fruit woods such as apple, wild cherry and pear.  Close grained woods would have to be harvested and dried so that the wood didn't split as they were carving the spoon.  Over the years they became more intricate so that they would be used as decoration instead.  These young men would spend hours carving the spoon to give as a token of their love, in the hope that if it was accepted their loving relationship would begin.  This is where the origin of the word 'spooning' comes from.  (There is also a belief that the carvers expertise would show the girls family that he would be able to provide for the girl with his carpentry skills.)
The handle of the spoon then expanded to more of a paddle shape so that more and more intricate designs could be added.  
This form of love token was also used in other European Celtic countries too.
Today, the carving continues and though I imagine rarely carved by the suitor there are many Welsh carvers that make and sell them, prices start in the tens of UK pounds to the hundreds depending upon the detail.

The symbols used in the carvings are generally accepted to mean the following:

Hearts = Love
Dragons (the symbol of Wales) = Protection
Locks/keys = Home and security
Knots = Everlasting love
Ship = Smooth passage through life
Bell = Weddings and anniversaries
Vine = Love grows
Comma shapes = Soul signs for deep affection
Ball = Love held safely
Cross = Faith
Flowers  = Affection
Horse shoe = Good luck
Diamond = Wealth/good fortune
Double spoon bowl = Togetherness
Heart shaped bowl = Togetherness
Wheel = Work
Shield = Safekeeping & Protection
Twist = Binding and growing together

I have found my small, motley 'collection' from charity shops over a number of years, and I display them on the wall between the kitchen and dining room.  Of course, as you can imagine I certainly haven't paid anything like the tens of pounds that they would have originally cost ;o)


and in close-up:


The bell for marriage/anniversary, and the heart for love.


The cross is for faith, the shield for safekeeping and protection.
(And a chipped spoon bowl because I'm clumsy and dropped it!)


Probably my favourite one, the Prince of Wales feathers to give good service, heart for love, and the lovely twist which means binding and growing together.


The horseshoe for good luck, and a heart for love.

And finally


A heart for love, the commas are soul signs for deep affection
and a double spoon for togetherness.


(Incidentally, after further tracing of my family tree I have found that there is Welsh blood running through my veins on both maternal and paternal sides of my family, so it looks like (finally) I have an apt collection!)

Hope all is well, and you have had an enjoyable weekend.

Best wishes to all!


x x x


3 comments:

ann said...

I have never seen such spoons. You have a lovely collection beautifully displayed. It is nice to know that they are functinal, but who today would want to use theirs?

Snowbird said...

I didn't know what a love spoon was either, what interesting things, I love all the symbolism attached to them, a lovely collection, they look wonderful displayed like that.xxx

Mary said...

I was gifted with one of these years ago but don't know what happened to it sadly. You have a great collection Rose -

Nice to see you here - like you I've not been buying/bringing home any treasures lately, life is just too complicated!

Hope all is well - think of you often.
Hugs, Mary