Saturday, September 29, 2012

Jen's 'Tree of Life' Takes Root!!

Bookmark and ShareI'm underway on the 'Tree of Life' section of our West Coast Eisteddfod lovespoon.  This beautiful design was graciously given to us for use on this year's spoon by the extraordinary Celtic artist, Jen Delyth.  It's always been a particular favourite of mine, so getting the chance to carve it is very exciting.  As you can see, it's early days yet, but it is starting to take shape and I'm getting an idea of how it will look when I'm done.   I will most likely leave each root and branch slightly 'textured' rather than going for the very smooth  effect which Laura has achieved on her section of the spoon (the part which is slightly darker in colour).  I'm hoping that by leaving it a bit textured, it will separate the intense knotwork sections and make each easier to 'read'.   Of course, its always possible that my idea won't work out and so it will be one of those last minute decisions whether or not to sand them smooth after all!!
I've also started roughing out the maple leaves, the stars and our little Welsh dragon.  The cherry we are using has some really lovely grain which I think will accentuate the leaves very nicely!  Unfortunately, there is an odd bit grain running through the dragon's body which might give me a bit of a challenge.  Nothing that some aggressive cuts and maybe a dab or two of crazy glue won't take care of though!! 
 There's a LOT of scroll sawing in this year's always seems much simpler and straightforward on I'm just plugging a way a segment at a time.  Things are pretty tight on this one, and I'm finding that it is easy to get 'off course' if the old attention wanders a bit.  So short but intense bursts of sawing activity will be the order of the day for the next little while!
So here's where things stand at the moment!   With time flying by at what seems an accelerated rate this year, it feels like I am up against the wall a bit.  I'm hoping a few long sessions this week will help me to get back in control of the time and have the spoon in the post for Portland on time. 
This year's spoon is going to be an ABSOLUTE CRACKER!!!  With contributions from 4 artists, the West Coast Eisteddfod lovespoon is definitely our most complicated and elegant effort yet!  If you haven't donated a buck or two to the Eisteddfod, don't delay!!!  October 13 will be here in a flash and that is the time when someone lucky is going to win it!!
There's a LOT of artistic, design and craft skill in this piece and it could be yours for just one dollar!!  Every dollar you donate to the Eisteddfod equals one chance to win....and somebody is going to be that one!!!  
Please help us to help the West Coast Eisteddfod grow and flourish!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My Turn!!!

Bookmark and ShareI've got a confession to make.  For the last month Laura and I have been having a private heart attack as our West Coast Eisteddfod lovespoon negotiated its way through the border/customs process of international mailing.  Owing to poor old Laura getting some completely duff information from US Postal, the spoon wound up being tremendously overinsured and then triggered a customs charge of nearly 200 dollars at the border!!  Since neither she or I could pony up that kind of dough and since the whole idea of the lovespoon is to raise funds rather than spend them, the only option left was to send it back to customs and appeal the charge.  Needless to say, it was a long, nerve-wracking ride for the pair of us and we were getting fairly certain the project would not be happening this year after all.   BUT, Canada Customs came through with an expedited processing and we are now back in business!
I'm really excited to get going with some carving of my own, but before I do, I have to quickly blog and let everyone know how BEAUTIFUL this thing is so far!!  Laura has done a lovely job and the 4 balls rolling in their organic cage look fabulous.  It's got the trademark Jenkins Lovespoons delicacy and elegance and is wonderfully 'touchable'.  Whoever wins this thing is going to be over the moon...  it is easily our best spoon so far and its not even done yet!!!
So, to keep on track for the Eisteddfod, I will be getting my head down and my backside up for the next few days.  I'm hoping I can make good headway and keep the project on track for the big day in October......not so very far away now!!
If you're wondering what all the tape and plywood 'crutch' is all about, there's no breaks or anything, I just want to protect Laura's delicate work while I am bashing away on the scroll saw.  I think I would have an aneurism if I managed to break it after all we have been for the next little while it will be behind scaffolding!!
Even if you could give a tinker's damn about Eisteddfods or anything Welsh, Laura and I both hope you'll fall in love with our lovespoon and want to have it (or even better, you'll want it to give to your sweetie)
Please consider donating a couple of bucks to the West Coast Eisteddfod and you could win this lovely, lovely spoon!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

David Western's Portland Eisteddfod Lovespoon: Hurry Up and Wait

David Western's Portland Eisteddfod Lovespoon: Hurry Up and Wait: We're just waiting for our lovespoon to clear Canada Customs. As soon as it does, I will resume work on it and finish off the beautiful Tr...

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Friday, September 14, 2012

Hurry Up and Wait

Bookmark and ShareWe're just waiting for our lovespoon to clear Canada Customs. As soon as it does, I will resume work on it and finish off the beautiful Tree of Life design so graciously contributed by Jen Delyth.  As with all things bureaucratic, we don't really know how long a wait we'll have, so in the meantime we'll carry on posting as if nothing's happening....which, alas, may well be the case.  I don't even have any photos of it to post, so if you want to see how it currently stands, you'll have to scroll back a couple of posts to the lovely one Laura did showing all the work she has currently undertaken.
The picture I've included today is of a lovely walnut spoon carved in Celtic style and taken from an old panel of wood which was rescued from a dumpster by a friend of mine.  The panels are probably around 200 years old (or more) and came from an old bar which had been used on a ship and in an Irish pub....if this piece of wood could talk, it would, no doubt, have a lovely accent and would be full of the blarney!
This particular design combines several examples of Celtic art extending over a time range of about 2-3 thousand years.  Although we are most familiar with the insular style of monastic Britain (circa 500 ad -800 ad), there is a rich and varied history of lovely Celtic art which is hardly known.  With the theme of this year's West Coast Eisteddfod lovespoon being, "Celebrate your Roots"...this spoon certainly sums up the Celtic pride that we Welsh and our fellow Celtic cousins can feel in our long and varied history.
The West Coast Eisteddfod gives us a chance to highlight our Welsh pride and to bring some aspects of our history and culture to the community.  Lovespoon carving is certainly one of those Welshy 'things' that we can feel pretty good about and it gives Laura and I a LOT of pleasure and pride to see our combined efforts result in a beautiful spoon which a lucky draw winner can enjoy for many, many years.
If you haven't already donated to the West Coast Eisteddfod, please consider doing so.  Every dollar you donate (in denominations large or small) equals a chance to the more the merrier!  We're confident this year's spoon will be far and away the best one yet and will represent exceptional value!!
Please support our cultural efforts and help the Welsh presence within North America!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mair's Beautiful Tree

One of the great things about lovespoons is that the process of their creation  allows for a great deal of client involvement.   In fact, the more my clients are involved in the design of the spoon, the more likely it becomes that I can capture something which really says, ‘them’.
Every now and then a client comes along who already knows exactly what should be carved and presents a sketch or idea which is pretty much ‘ready to go’.  Such was the case with this lovely tree design by Mair Underwood.  After we had swapped ideas back and forth for a while, Mair sent this lovely design which she felt really captured her relationship and which was, for her, full of meaning.  Not only that, it makes a truly beautiful lovespoon!!
Its also the first design I’ve done where the spoon is made to hang horizontally rather than vertically as is customary.
I really love this elegant little spoon and I hope that inspires you to design a lovespoon of your own (or work with me to create one if you aren’t as handy with a pencil as Mair!!).

While we wait for the West Coast Eisteddfod Lovespoon to clear customs, please look back over some of Laura's progress reports to see how the spoon is shaping up and see some excellent pics of its progress so far!!  Please also consider donating a buck or two to the West Coast Eisteddfod for your opportunity to win the completed spoon!!!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Bookmark and ShareLaura at NAFOW

While the West Coast Eisteddfod lovespoon wends its way through the labyrinthine complications of US/Canada cross-border customs, Laura is taking a well deserved break from carving to man her booth at the North American Festival of Wales.   This year's event is in Scranton Pa., and it sounds like it's quite the bash.   If you are planning on attending, or you are in the Scranton area this weekend, please drop by Laura's booth and purchase one of her beautiful lovespoons or greeting cards!!  If you are too late for a lovespoon, (I hear they are going very quickly) check out her equally beautiful hand-turned pens.  There's no end to Laura's woodworking and artistic skills, so take advantage of this excellent opportunity both to meet her AND to own some of her elegant work!
If can't visit the event, please visit Laura's website at and check out her gorgeous collection of lovespoons!

Laura and I are both very excited about this year's Eisteddfod spoon and hope that you will help us with our fund-raising effort as we raffle the spoon off to a lucky recipient at this year's West Coast Eisteddfod.
Every dollar you donate to our cause equals a chance to win what must surely be our best spoon yet!  Laura has thrown down a mighty gauntlet for me this year and I am very keen to see our spoon sprung from its custom's purgatory so that I can 'resume the action'!!   Again, if you are at NAFOW, drop by the Americymru booth and have a look at the photos of the spoon and its progress from plank to perfect!   
If you can't donate in person, please click on the box to the right of the photo for full information on this simple and safe way to support the West Coast Eisteddfod!!