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Monday, January 27, 2014

Breton Wedding Spoons

Bookmark and ShareI'm finally starting to get the hang of the wax inlay process that is a necessary part of carving an authentic looking Breton wedding spoon.  After a couple of false starts...notably the poorly hinged folding spoon with the anaemic candle wax inlay to the left of the frame... I learned a few hard lessons and feel like I'm getting somewhere both with the carving and with the inlaying.

The middle spoon shows vast improvement simply from the use of quality sealing wax in place of the cheap candle wax I used for my initial experiment.  The other lesson I learned was to keep the depth and width of each little triangular chip as close to the same as possible.  It's tedious and time-consuming work cutting out all those little chips; work made even more difficult by the fact they become almost invisible until the wax is added.

The third spoon (black inlay to extreme right) is definitely a merging of Celtic cousins though.  The elegant Breton pattern becomes particularly fetching when filled with black wax that I rescued off the outside of a block of lovely Welsh cheese!  I don't know what kind of wax they use to seal "Little Black Bomber" mature cheddar, but it worked as good as the cheese tasted!  Perfect!!

I don't feel like I'm quite there yet and I'll definitely have to take a few more runs at the articulated version of the Breton spoon before I can be confident enough to take a commission on one, but I'm definitely enjoying learning about this lovely branch of the lovespoon family!!


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Valentine's Day Approaches

Bookmark and ShareValentine's Day draws ever nearer and it's time to think about a lovely gift for your sweetie!!  Don't settle for the same old flowers and chocolates that you fall back on every year!!  Do something REALLY romantic and imaginative and commission one of my custom, hand-made lovespoons!!   Even if your budget only extends to something simple, it WILL be heart-felt, beautiful and romantic.  Beat THAT with your wilty roses and over-prices candies!!

If you think I'm full of stuff and nonsense, then just have an eye-ball at this lovely little Celtic style knots and hearts spoon carved from recycled old-growth fir.  Here's a wood that doesn't get the credit it is due from carvers (mainly because it isn't easy to get or to carve) but is STUNNINGLY elegant!!  This piece was recycled from an old 2X4 that I salvaged when I replaced the roof on my little 1914 built shack.  The grain is straight as an arrow and tight as a ducks back end; it really is remarkable wood!

This spoon is warm and lovely and although pretty basic and simple, it is tres romantic!  

I've got a good supply of ready made spoons on hand and there is still time (though limited) to commission a custom design.

Even if you can't be Welsh this Valentine's Day, you can still be romantic and inspired!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A new year of new adventures

Bookmark and ShareOne of my lovespoon carving buddies dropped me a note on Facebook yesterday asking to see a picture of anything interesting I might have on the work-bench at the moment.
So, I grabbed the trusty Fuji and snapped off a quick shot.   As it turns out, what's on there IS pretty interesting!!
Alas, the most noticable spoon is the broken panel spoon at the bottom of the frame.  This is a traditional Welsh style panel spoon carved from a spectacular piece of tiger-stripe maple. (Also known as 'fiddle-back' maple, it is most commonly seen on violin bodies-hence the name)  It's gorgeous wood, but the neck section is pretty weak because of the wood's interlocking grain structure.  Combine that with a plunge off the wall to a pretty hard floor below and you have a recipe for disaster.  Let's hope that my old friend Crazy Glue can come through for me and we can get this little beauty back up on display!!
There's lots of other cool stuff going on today too.  There's a couple of Celtic style spoons on the go: a lovely knotwork spoon with a stylized heart bowl, a swallow clinging to a flower that I did once before and which appears in my book, "The Fine Art of Carving Lovespoons", and a more simple panel spoon with a sweet little knot at it's crown.   I've got a couple of Breton style spoons underway as well. One is a simple straight handled spoon from black walnut and the other will be an articulating (folding) wedding spoon from pacific yew wood.   There's also a length of chain I have just carved for a Norwegian style wedding spoon and in the top left corner is an actual antique Norwegian wedding spoon dating from about 1890 or so.  Tucked away on the right hand side is a lovely little panel spoon which has been chip carved in the Tirolean style (using a pattern from the mid 1800's).  It's going to be a marvelous little spoon and I am already a little bit in love with it as it is carved from Austrian Zirbe and when I sand it, the shop smells like an Austrian Alpine workshop!  A free trip to Europe without even leaving the studio!!
There's a couple of other spoons in the frame in various stages of incompleteness, but that all should be enough to keep me busy for a little while!!  Especially since I should really be at the drafting table drawing up some sketches for my clients!!!