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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

It's In the Details

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One of the best things about lovespoons is the amount of detail which can be carved into any given spoon. There really is no limit to the symbols, decorations and intimate detailing which can go on! Sadly, this abundance of riches seems to be seldom exploited in the commercial lovespoon world and many clients are under the impression they must choose a ready-made spoon or mash-up a design from a range of 'available symbols'. That may be the case when the spoons are being mass produced using pre-programmed patterns, but for someone like me (or the other wonderful hand-carvers who produce one-of-a-kind lovespoons) the sky is the limit when it comes to inventive design.

For me, probably the most exciting part of a lovespoon commission is figuring out the design. It can certainly also be the most frustrating and always has the potential to go horribly wrong...but when things go well and the client is delighted with the results, the carving part seems to always be that much more enjoyable. Sometimes, my clients really like to get involved and they come to me with loads of ideas and great excitement. THAT'S when things are really fun. We can work through their ideas and visions for the design and chip away until we've got one that really 'speaks to them'.

Sometimes, my clients will give me some basic background information to lay the design's foundation and then well step back and leave it to me to build the rest. These commissions are a double edged sword in that they leave me loads of leeway for 'artistic freedom' but they put a heavier load on me 'getting it right' for the client. Occasionally, my vision and the client's don't align and then modifications need to be made OR even the odd trip right back to the drawing board! The most important thing is that I wind up with a design the client is happy with. After all, the spoon IS for them!

People are often surprised to hear that the design part of the commission generally takes as much time as the actual carving!
It's a tricky job and frequently those designs which are just supposed to pop out of my head decide to stay firmly lodged in the 'little grey cells' until I can pry them loose. Designing is definitely not the easiest thing I've ever had to do and like anything else worth doing; it takes effort and much practice. Even though I think I design pretty good lovespoons, I love to admire some of the work by some of my fellow lovespoon carvers and am always willing to learn from them and to expand my 'vocabulary' when ever possible. It keeps the work fresh, vibrant and exciting!

It also enables me to say that commissioning a real handmade lovespoon, whether from me or some of the other fine hand-crafters out there, is an opportunity to own a unique work of art which honestly and accurately captures the essence of your life stories in a personal and intimate way which is impossible to find in any other gift. It's all in the details!!


  1. Well said, Dave! That's what it's all about!

  2. hi Laura,
    Thank you for your very kind comment....but I thought the Hokey Pokey was what it was all about!!