Thursday 17 April 2014
Traditionally, a love spoon was a token of affection, from man to woman. The spoons would be hand carved, often by sailors on their long overseas trips and offered to the girl, who they were interested in. If the girl accepted the spoon, then the interest would be mutual and a romantic relationship would form from there. The tradition originated in Wales, hundreds of years ago, with some of the earliest resulting love spoons on display at the Welsh Folk Museum in Cardiff. There is even one on display that is believed to date back to 1667.
The tradition of love spoon carving was not only popular in Wales, but across Europe too, especially in European Celtic countries. In the early years of love spoons, the young men would have plenty of time in the long winter evenings to be able to create their beautiful spoons.
At the time, spoon carving became popular as a way of attracting a girl, practical skills were an important talent in a potential husband. It was a way to be able to show the woman that they could do everything practical around the home. The spoons would demonstrate the young carvers skills. It was often seen that the more complicated and intricate the design, the deeper the males affections were for the woman.
The spoons would traditionally be carved from a single piece of wood, sycamore (Platanus hybrida) being the more popular choice. If the man succeeded in pursuing the woman, the spoon would be hung in pride of place on a wall, in the home they would share.
Typical symbols on the spoons could include a horseshoe for luck, a cross for faith, bells for marriage, hearts for love, a wheel for support, a lock for security among others.
Bringing the traditional love spoon gesture into the present, the independent British jewellery company, Tatty Devine, are selling their own mini version of the love token, in the form of a love spoon necklace. The laser-cut spoon hangs off a delicate gold chain, as a new way of showing of a token of love from an admirer. Tatty Divine opened in 1999, by Harriet Vine and Rosie Wolfenden, who met at Chelsea School of Art's Fine Art degree. The now have two stores, concession stands and over 300 stockists worldwide.
(PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF TATTYDEVINE.COM)
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