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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.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

Bookmark and Share It's Valentine's Day and those who had their acts together are rolling in the clover today! I couldn't give the game away by showing any Valentine's commissions before today, but I'm very excited to show a little selection of the wonderful spoons I was fortunate to carve for some really thoughtful and very romantic clients!! I'm particularly taken with this first one...especially since it feature's the famous Liver Bird, the symbol of Liverpool and more important, Liverpool FC!! A gift from a woman to a man, this spoon is a bit more 'masculine' but still retains a lot of romantic imagery which is personal to the couple. I love it! This is a spoon which truly says, "You'll Never Walk Alone!" This design really works for Valentine's, even if it isn't awash in lovey-dovey stuff. I think the elegant heart-shaped bowl and the heart link say everything that needs saying romance-wise and the endless Celtic knot of the handle is a perfect metaphor for 'eternal love'. Simple, elegant and beautiful...just like a Valentine's romance should be! I know I just showed off the Celtic Flower a few posts back, but I absolutely love this spoon! It isn't too flamboyant, but it IS a wonderful and evocative spoon....and best of all; it will never wilt! It's the Valentine's Day gift that will keep on giving forever! Now that Valentine's Day has arrived and the rush is over, I'll start focussing a bit more on this year's Eisteddfod spoon. It's year 5 for both the Eisteddfod and the annual raffle lovespoon which helps raise needed funds to support the event. Laura Jenkins Gorun is on board again this year and we are currently plotting this year's lovespoon adventure. We are thrashing out some ideas and are pretty jazzed at some of the crazy stuff we've been coming up with! This year's spoon will definitely be another step forward in our continuing exploration of lovespoon design! Hold on to your hats, but let go of your wallets! You'll want to buy some tickets for THIS one!!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Perfect Time for Lovespoons

Bookmark and Share Its nearly Valentine's Day...that most perfect time of the year for the lovespoon to really shine! I won't bang on about it, but if you think your poxy bouquet of over-priced flowers or tacky boxed chocs is ever going to come anywhere near to THIS kind of romance, think again!!! Alas, unless you live in BC, you're too late for this year, but I guarantee that one of my hand-carved lovespoons is always the way to score a big bullseye when you want to be a REAL romantic. If you missed out this year, get on the list for next! It's never too early to start planning when you are creating something as beautiful and poignant as a lovespoon! To show you what you missed out on being able to give to your sweetie AND to inspire you for your own lovespoon, here's a little gallery of romantic 'moments' from some of my lovespoons.
Things don't have to become overly complicated to make sure a romantic message really gets across. These heart links pretty much say it all!
Two bowls joined together say, "We two are as one". Beat THAT with a toaster!!
"Cariad" says sweetheart in Welsh...but you don't have to be Welsh to be romantic (although it certainly helps). Say it in French, Mandarin, Farsi or even in English; everyone likes receiving a love note!
Ahhh, lovespoons are definitely "Muy bueno!!" Still prefer 'Pot of Gold'?....
then I can't help you!!! But if you want to say something really meaningful through a beautiful, one-of-a-kind artwork which comes backed by centuries of tradition, then I'm the guy to help you out!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

A Silk Purse From a Sow's Ear

Bookmark and Share There's an old expression which says you can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear. A great saying, but when it comes to lovespoons and bits of unwanted wood, sometimes that's exactly what a carver CAN do!! Here's your proof! Knowing I was going to be spending time sitting in long ferry line-ups over the Christmas holiday, I grabbed my knife and an offcut of maple from a firewood box by the back door. Normally, I stew behind the wheel of my immobile car, gradually working myself into an apoplectic lather over having to waste my life in a ferry parking lot (and I calculate I have probably spent a year or two of my brief allotted time on this earth doing just that)but armed with my little carving knife, a bit of wood and my overactive imagination, I can make the time fly by in a pleasurable (and occasionally profitable)way. The scrap maple I grabbed as I flew out the door happened to be fairly long and narrow, so I decided to have a bash at a cage with a pile of balls. In retrospect, I probably could have fit a few more into the space available, but I wanted plenty of room for the knife, so I went with what you see. I managed to get quite a bit of the carving done at the ferry and then in the odd quiet moment over the Christmas holidays, but it wasn't until today that I decided to finish it off. Granted, it's not the most interesting or exciting spoon I've ever done, but it has a certain charm. I'm especially pleased with the long, narrow bowl and think I might try a few more like that. The balls in cage detail came out fairly well too, given that I was hacking away in the car and at the kitchen table for most of it!!
And since I am on a recycle and reuse kick at the moment, here's a nice little Valentine's spoon carved from an unusual bit of wood that came out of some wood packing around a commercial freezer. I get bits and pieces of wood from some pretty crazy places, but I figure as long as they are clean, they look good and I can carve them without them falling to bits, then they are worth using! Again, this is a pretty simple little 'whittled' spoon, but it's pretty cute and I really like the wood...whatever it is?
Speaking of Valentine's Day; you've still got a weeny bit of time to get a lovespoon in time for the big day (at least you do if you live in Canada or the US!) This little one is only 45 dollars + postage!!