August 2017. Fifty Years in the Making!!
A question that we are often asked at The Lovespoon Workshop, is how long does it take to make a lovespoon? Sometimes it can be a straightforward answer but often the answer requires some explanation to tell the full story.

A simple lovespoon design can be completed in a few hours, whilst we have spent as long as three hundred hours on our ´Longest´ lovespoon. The designs we make for sale in the online shop take somewhere between four and seven hours to complete but this answer deals exclusively with the process of making the lovespoon. A more detailed examination can provide a very different answer to, how long a lovespoon takes to make?

Recently we were presented with an opportunity to reclaim wood believed to be at least four hundred years old. This raises a new angle on the answer to the time involved in making a lovespoon. In this case, the Oak tree that provided the wood for these lovespoons would have been growing at least five hundred years ago, therefore it can be argued that these lovespoons began the process of being made over five hundred years ago. This provides a very different answer to how long it took to make these lovespoons.

Reclaiming wood in this manner is something we are often involved with and provides some wonderful stories behind the handcarved lovespoons we make. It also means that the wood can have significant age to it and the process of making a lovespoon, from planting the tree to the finished design will often exceed one hundred years.

Within the last two weeks we were given another answer to the question of how long it takes to make a lovespoon. A phone call was followed by a visit to the workshop with a lovespoon that was started around fifty years ago!! The lovespoon, as pictured with this news update, was designed and started by a local gentleman for his wedding day. It is made from a piece of Sapele and clearly some considerable amount of time, effort and care has been put into it already. For a first attempt there is no lack of ingenuity and skill that has been applied to this lovespoon. Unfortunately a point was reached where further progress and ultimately the completion of the lovespoon proved a difficult task and work was suspended, until now...

Following a previous visit to The Lovespoon Workshop the original maker decided that it was time to reach out for some additional assistance. The moment had arrived to seek a solution to the problem of this incomplete lovespoon. Following consultation, a plan has been agreed upon for the best way to complete the lovespoon. To date, the lovespoon remains unfinished but we hope to have a finished lovespoon for the gentleman´s wife shortly. We are delighted to be presented with this opportunity and hope the lovespoon will be worth the wait. How long does it take to make a lovespoon? Fifty years and counting!!
July 2017. The Inspiration behind the Lovespoons

We often refer to our own collection of lovespoons as unique. It´s a collection that began in 1969, when Thomas the Woodcarver made his first lovespoon as a proposal of marriage to his future wife Jill. Since then we have made one special lovespoon every year, almost as a diary, to record the events that have been significant in our lives as a family and also events that have shaped the wider world. In a few years our collection will total fifty and each individual lovespoon is entirely unique to all the others in the collection.

This brings us back to our original assertion and raises the question, what is it that makes our collection unique? Is it the design and craft that goes into the lovespoon? Is it the countless hours that make each spoon a genuine labour of love? Is it the skill that is required to make an individual piece from just one single solid block of wood? Well for us the real answer to making our lovespoons unique is the story that each and every one tells. All of our lovespoons in our collection and the ones we make for others have a tale to tell.

Some stories are simple and meaningful, our Celtic inspired Eternal Love lovespoon tells a tale of a hope and desire for everlasting enduring love. Our Celebration Bells lovespoon is a record of a joyous celebration. The story often extends to the wood itself with Oak being used to represent strength and stability, Mahogany reflecting a traditional style of lovespoon and Ash, with its light colour and beautiful grain being seen as a more modern take on the tradition.

Within our collection of lovespoons we have evolved the traditional concept of having a story in each lovespoon. Our 1986 'What is the key to life' lovespoon is a prime example. This lovespoon, carved in the style of a bunch of six keys on a single key ring is entirely made from one solid piece of Mahogany. In total, Thomas the Woodcarver spent more than seventy hours making it but as we have begun to explore it is the story that makes the lovespoon truly unique.

The idea for our 1986 lovespoon came from Thomas the Woodcarver´s wife Jill. A simple assembly for school children based on a theme of 'what the key to life might be', provided the platform for wider discussions. As with many of our designs this simple seed of an idea soon grew into a much larger project.

From the outset, when designing and making our 1986 lovespoon global events touched our thoughts, with the tragic loss of the space shuttle 'Challenger' being something we could not ignore and led the first key to be carved in the shape and style of a space shuttle. This also put forward our first question in answering the key to life, does it lie in furthering human boundaries and the evolution of mankind?

As our lovespoon developed other ideas were put forward in the possible solution to our key to life question. A key shaped as a lovespoon puts the focus on our interests and pursuits. Another key with a mirror in a heart put our wants and needs at the forefront in answering the key to life question. Pound signs and stars were also chosen as keys, putting a notion that the key to life might be within the seeking of fame and riches. A final key in the shape of a simple cross was carved to propose that the key to life could be within our own faith and beliefs.

In its essence our seed of an idea has provoked much thought throughout the years and we conclude that for many of us we are fortunate to be able to choose what the key to life is for us in our own lives. As a family the lovespoon has been one important key within the bunch of keys that makes up our lives. The lovespoon tradition has allowed us to share our ideas, messages, beliefs and work with many people and we hope to continue to share and enjoy it with many more in the future.
June 2017.There's more to Wood than Trees

Making a lovespoon begins with the wood itself. Wood arrives from a variety of sources at The Lovespoon Workshop. It comes to us from people including carpantary and joinery companies, tree surgeons and farmers
. The wood also arrives in a variety forms, shapes and sizes. A large amount of the wood we use is reclaimed, timber that has had a previous use. Old furniture, window and door frames and even a customer that supplied their own timber for their wedding lovespoons that had previously been utilised as part of Bournemouth pier.

The wood that we use makes up part of the story of each individual lovespoon. The Yew tree for example is referred to as the eternal tree and is therefore appropriate for a variety of lovespoons that a focused on a eternal love theme.

Oak is another wood that adds to the story of a lovespoon. Recently we were informed that Oak is the symbol for eighty years of anniversary, representing strength and stability in a relationship. The golden colour of Oak makes it ideal for weddings and anniversaries and the attractive grain makes it a firm favourite here at The Lovespoon Workshop. Much of the Oak we use is reclaimed from sources including kitchen doors and old wardrobes.

All the wood that we make lovespooons from has to be seasoned. Reclaimed timber is often already seasoned but the wood that arrives in the form of freshly cut logs requires time to be dried out correctly. We work predominantly in a two year cycle when seasoning our wood. We dry logs whole for one year, then we cut and slat the logs for a second year to ensure moisture levels reach the required level. This process requires space as well as time and we have two timber stores in constant use here on site.

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