Monday, February 18, 2013

A New Old Celtic

Bookmark and Share Although most of my lovespoons tend to feature the famous Celtic knotwork of the British Insular period, I have recently started paying more attention to the Celtic art of other European regions and time frames. It has dawned on me that there is a LOT of great Celtic art which goes overlooked because of the fascination with 'Book of Kells' type knotwork. There can be little doubt that the ancient Celts were masters of design and their handling of space and abstract form is second to none. It would probably take a lifetime to learn even a fraction of the skills those early bronze and iron age masters possessed and another to learn ways to transfer the techniques and designs to wood, but every now and then I take a crack at it. This spoon is one of those attempts! It features a number of details less commonly seen on modern 'Celtic' woodcarvings, such as sweeping foliage, the beautiful Celtic 'swirls' found on paper and metal art and a much looser and more flowing Celtic knot pattern. The foliage has an almost medieval feel to it with the pointed treble leaves, but the sweep of the knotwork definitely gives the piece a Celtic 'feel'. The varied thickness of the knotwork gives the spoon an organic plant-like feel. Although it is as rigidly controlled as any Celtic 'over and under' type pattern, it possesses a more open and easier going feel. The little stylized heart at the bottom of the knot is a romantic touch which indicates that this is a lovespoon...the solid heart beneath it leaves no doubt! I have a soft spot for double bowls on my lovespoons. I enjoy the effect they create and I find them very romantic. Their use as a symbol of 'two becoming one' is perfectly apt for a lovespoon and I just never get tired of playing with the arrangement of their relationship to one another. The little berries make a wonderful contrast to the pointy leaves and also hint at the notion of fertility and life's renewal...another popular theme on traditional lovespoons. I'm very pleased with this elegant little spoon. The wonderful amber tone of the red alder I used to carve it, lends the spoon a rich feel and the gentle dome of the handle makes the spoon feel (and look) very light when in the hand or hung on the wall.


  1. What an immensely attractive design.

  2. Very cool Dave! Love the way the Celtic knot "floats" and the symbolism is very interesting. Great job!