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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Lovespoons in Ohio

Bookmark and ShareI've just returned home from a short trip to Ohio where I had a number of excellent lovespoon related adventures!  After several years of email communication and a couple of shared efforts on the West Coast Eisteddfod lovespoons, Laura Jenkins Gorun and I finally managed to meet in person!  Not only that, Laura made the beautifully delicate lovespoon you see in the above photo for me and my wife!  Wow!  The spoon itself is carved from Buckeye wood (there is not a more appropriate wood for a lovespoon commemorating a visit to the Buckeye state than that!!!) and it features 2 elegant little rings which float along the handle at the bowl-end of the shaft.  As with all of Laura's spoons, it is delicate, beautiful, meticulously rendered and chock-full of symbolism and meaning...I'm absolutely thrilled to bits to be its new owner!!
While I was visiting Laura at her studio, she was just putting the finishing touches to the lovespoon.  Ensconced in her marvelous carving chair (which is much, much, much more practical and comfortable than the battered old wooden chair I use- note to self: get chair like Laura's!) Laura worked away at buffing up the already satin finish while we chatted about lovespoons, the Welsh in Ohio and where to get a really big hamburger in Columbus.  While she worked, I couldn't help but notice her Mayan blue fingernail polish which seemed to perfectly set off the very feminine and elegant design of the spoon!
But the lovespoon wasn't the only thing Laura had arranged for my visit.  She also set up an opportunity for me to speak to members of her Columbus Chippers carving group and some from the Welsh Society of Central Ohio about lovespoon tradition and history.   The room came complete with a podium, microphone and slide show screen...all very high-tech stuff for a guy who sits at a little wooden bench all day using hand-tools to make his pieces!   As you can see, I even wore a collar for the occasion!  A wonderful crowd of people turned out to hear me (and no doubt to puzzle over my novelty moustache- long story) and it was an absolute pleasure to meet other carvers, fellow Welshmen and folks who were interested by the lovespoon!!  Hopefully, I didn't get too carried away with the talking...once I get going about lovespoons, its sometimes hard to shut me back up again!


There was one more surprise for me at the end of the talk when fellow Welshman and lovespoon carver Chris Watkins came up to the front for a chat!  Chris and Laura have shown their spoons at various shows over the years, but I had only been able to communicate with Chris by email up until then.  Although I would have loved to have had a bit more time to talk about lovespoon history with Chris, I know that we'll be back to emailing fairly soon and I'm hoping that between us we can uncover more information on this centuries-old tradition!

Away from Columbus, I spent a lovely day with Jeanne Jones Jindra, the director of the Madog Centre (or 'Center' in American) for Welsh Studies in the small Southern Ohio town of Rio Grande.  While there, I presented her with a little spoon as a token of my appreciation for her generous and very kind hosting.  Jeanne showed me around some of the Welsh settlements of that area of Ohio and we had a nice visit to the little Welsh museum in the town of Oak Hill.   The Welsh have always seemed to be the forgotten Celts in North America...everyone knows the Irish and the Scots...so it was fun for me to see a little museum dedicated to my lot for a change!!
I hope that one day soon I will be able to go back down to Ohio and do a bit more 'lovespooning' around the state, but until then, thank you to everyone who helped make my trip so very enjoyable!!



4 comments:

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  3. What an interesting post (and what beautiful love spoons). I visited Ohio myself in May this year (my first ever visit to the US.) I loved it the people were so friendly and in Amish country it was wonderful to see so many horses (I have a Welsh Cob and a Quarterhorse myself). You're so right about the Celts. As you say, everyone associates the Celts with the Irish and the Scots, and don't realise that the Welsh have a huge Celtic heritage.

    Nadoleg Llawen

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  4. We were so happy to host David and his lovely wife Nola as guests at the Madog Center for Welsh Studies in southern Ohio. I feel as if we have made two very good friends-for-life in these two! The lovespoon he carved for us is even more beautiful in person!

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