Friday, November 15, 2013

A Tribal Wedding

Bookmark and ShareI was recently commissioned to carve a wedding spoon for a mate of mine who I met on a little road-trip across China, Tibet and Nepal.  It's ALWAYS a pleasure to carve lovespoons for weddings and anniversaries, as well as being a challenge to try and create a design which is meaningful for the parties involved!

This one was no exception!   The brief I was given to get me started made mention of the bride's fondness for her dogs and of her Scottish ancestry.  I love these two intertwined Celtic dogs and felt they would make a perfect starting point for the design.  For the groom, I remembered his collection of brilliant tribal tattoos and managed to locate a picture of some of them.  From this picture I built up the opposite side of the spoon, finishing it off with a lovely little wave strip design inspired by the edge of a Maori waka (canoe).  The groom is a keen traveller, so the canoe symbol seemed an apt one!!

Hidden among the Celtic and tribal flourishes are a couple of tiny symbols which are relevant to the bride.  They aren't big in size, but they are in meaning!!

The focal point of the design, is of course, the heart with the couple's initials.  No symbol says love quite as well as the heart and I wanted it to be supported by both sides of the design.  Just below the heart nestles a little stylized Cross of St. George for the groom.  As a Welshman, I'm not sure what the symbolism is of that, but it seems to be important to my English friend!!!

The big challenge in carving this particular spoon was the piece of wood I selected.  It's a gorgeous piece of birch which features some uncharacteristic flashes of lovely amber tone mixed with the usual creamy complexion the timber is more widely known for.   But I went for a plank which had been cut directly from the heart of the tree...just to hammer home the symbolism one more time!!!   This made for a section of slightly spongy, but visually wonderful wood which was a nightmare to carve!  Every cut risked pulling out unexpected chunks and the knives had to be kept beyond razor sharp!   But in the end, the sweating paid off with a spectacular streak of pitted figure which runs right though the middle of the design, as I had hoped it would!!!

As you can imagine, when a Welshman and an Englishman get together, the 'back and forth' banter can get a bit salty....and such was the case here!   That inspired me to leave a little gift on the back of the spoon which I hope will give my mate a few chuckles over the years.....

No Welshman is complete without his sheep and I'm told they are popular with England football supporters too!!

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