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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Coverboy!!

Bookmark and ShareIt's not often that a lovespoon carver gets the opportunity to appear on the cover of a magazine!!   It's even more special when the magazine is written by and directed to my peers in the woodcarving community!   I feel tremendous pride having my work thought well enough of just to be considered for inclusion in the Woodcarvers Gazette, so I am absolutely thrilled to have this piece on the front cover!!   Here's a big thank you to Jason and all at the British Woodcarvers Association!!

As for the spoon itself, it is a wedding spoon I carved recently for my cousin Rachel's wedding.  Carved from some wonderfully figured broadleaf maple, rendering this particular design was not without its challenges.   Whenever I carve heavily figured wood like this, I can expect some splintering,
grain tear-out and some bumpiness along straight surfaces...and this piece was no exception!!  More than once, I wondered if I had made a colossal mistake and would have been better off carving it from lime or something nice and soft.  But once the oil went on and that stunning, shimmering grain revealed itself in all its splendor, the effort was definitely worth it!!

I'm very pleased with the merging of Art Deco and Celtic style which I think this spoon conveys.  There is lots of romantic meaning in the design and it's 'look' is refined but not pretentious...hopefully, you'll feel the same way about it!!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

It's Christening Time!!

Bookmark and ShareOne of the really fun things I get to do from time to time is to carve Christening spoons.  It's always such a happy time carving for proud parents who are positively bursting with pride and excitement AND for the beautiful baby who has a life of adventures and learning yet to come.

In the archived collections of some of the museums in Wales are some old 'feeding' spoons with curious bent handles, the bowls of which extend at an almost 90 degree angle to the handle.  It is thought this odd shape allowed the parent to feed a child seated in the lap and facing away from the parent without the parent having to reach around ... an ingenious innovation which also makes a lovely 'look' when carved on a spoon.

I like my Christening spoons to echo this tradition and so you'll notice most have the bent handle and protruding bowl.

As with lovespoons carved for weddings and anniversaries etc., there is lots of scope for design and personal statement.  This lovely little spoon is based on an ancient Celtic sketch of a lion embracing a closed or 'eternal' knot.  The closed knot is a symbol of eternity because it has no beginning or end (like the circle which became the model for the wedding ring).   I've included the unfinished version of this spoon as the lower section ultimately contained some details which I felt might be too personal to show the whole world.  But rest assured it was all very touching!!!

This one was particularly enjoyable!  A gift for a baby born to parents who love the ocean, diving and marine life, there was little doubt this spoon would have a nautical theme!  A happy leaping dolphin rises out of the waves holding a small banner with the birth details above a cascade of starfish and seashells.  The heart shaped bowl symbolizes the love the child will enjoy.  Its hard not to feel happiness when you look at this little spoon!!

A celebration of the birth of twins, this spoon is pretty unusual as far as spoons go.  Locating the bowl in the middle of the two handles symbolizes how the twins are 'the same but different'.  The parents were ecstatic at the birth of their little 'lambs' and so we chose to symbolize the twins through Celtic styled lambs born from the same origin.  I don't often locate the bowl in the middle of my spoons, but it sure works for this one!

This collection of tiny spoons was originally carved for a wedding where they were given as gifts to members of the wedding party, but everyone who has seen them also thought they would make lovely little Christening spoons.  They are certainly cheerful little spoons and the idea of 'growth' symbolized by the plant form is very apt as is the little heart-shaped bowl!

Although they aint silver, I think these little spoons are all much more valuable than any store bought metal spoon could ever be.  They're certainly more heart-felt!!