I've been pretty enthralled with some lovely Breton wedding spoons pictures that my friend Gérard Dumont sent me a few weeks back. Gérard is an outstanding authority on Breton style spoons and has been an absolute fountain of knowledge as I pester him with questions about the lovespoon carving tradition in Brittany.
Through Gérard and his amazing website, I have discovered a vast world of beautiful and evocative spoons that I scarcely knew existed!! The Bretons were every bit as serious about their spoons as the Welsh and spared no effort in creating dazzling creations which they would show-off at weddings and special occasions.
A feature of Breton spoons which is much less common to Welsh and Scandinavian spoons is an extensive use of inlay. Primarily wax, but often pewter, sulfur and other substances that I haven't figured out yet, the Bretons would use inlays to create complex patterns and decorations on the handles of their spoons.
This little spoon is a very simple example of the type of inlaying the Bretons would do on their spoon handles. Inspired by an antique, this elegant little spoon was carved from a tiny block of spalted birch that I have been saving for months. The design JUST fit, with the spalting bringing dazzling life to the bowl.
I have carved this spoon with only a pen-knife and my small bent knife for the bowl. I did the inlay chip carving completely free-hand as seemed to be the way the original had been done. This results in the much less 'mechanical' look which I prefer and which says 'hand-made'.
The waxing was done with sealing wax and thanks to tips from my buddy Bob Tinsley, I had no difficulties getting a good 'clean' finish with no pitting or excess wax build-up.
It's definitely a learning exercise, but I am growing more and more confident that my Breton style spoons will soon be good enough to make for the public!!
But a bit more learning has to go on before I hang out any shingles!!