Lovespoon Workshop News

The Lovespoon Workshop on YouTubeThe Lovespoon Workshop copyright 2018..

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December 2020- The Year of struggles and great hope for the future

So we find ourselves towards the end of a turbulent year for everyone. A very different year than any of us have experienced before and indeed could have ever anticipated. The workshop has been a very different environment during 2020 than we are used to. The constant flow of visitors has been replaced by the routine of focusing upon the things we love to make. The sharing of the stories of our family lovespoons has been replaced with the making of lovespoons to tell the stories of others. Our light hearted presentation of our beloved tradition has stopped altogether and masked visitors in far fewer numbers have become a brief distraction from our daily routine.

This seemingly bleak outlook couldn’t be further from our mindset during this current situation. Our hearts are filled with hope and expectation for what the future might bring. Whilst 2020 has presented extremely challenging circumstances, this situation has also afforded the opportunity to grow and learn in a way that under normal circumstances would never have been possible. We are very fortunate to have ways to present our work that many others are not fortunate enough to have. Indeed our website, social media and YouTube channel have provided a platform to present our work throughout this difficult time.

The development of these various digital platforms had always been part of our plan for the future but 2020 has transformed them into THE plan for our future. Presenting the lovespoon tradition to visitors has been at the core of our family workshop for the last forty five years. Under normal circumstances this would have continued to be at the core of what we do. 2020 has denied us this luxury and we miss being able to share the stories and messages of our family lovespoons with those who come to see our family workshop. In the spirit of not being denied, solutions have been looked at to reverse this problem. If we can have the ability to welcome visitors to our workshop taken away as and when it is deemed correct to do so, why don’t we take our workshop into the homes of everyone? That’s the beauty of presenting through a digital platform. We no longer have to rely upon visitors finding our workshop, we can take our workshop to the visitor. Our work can be shared throughout the world, without the audience even needing to leave their living room.

So in this light we have great hope and excitement for what potentially lies ahead in 2021. We share in the hopes and desires for a more normal life and the return of our freedom, that have been eroded throughout the trials and tribulations of 2020. Our work with the lovespoon has remained a constant source of strength through this difficult time, highlighting once more the power of wood work as a positive influence upon our mental health.

Finding positive things to do has been a key element in navigating a route through the difficult waters of 2020. Through YouTube, we have focussed upon our love for helping others to learn and enjoy wood working as we are fortunate to do so ourselves. We are extremely grateful to everyone who has supported us in the growth of our YouTube channel and we hope you have benefited from the content we have created and plan to continue creating into the future. Indeed, this has been one of our highlights as a family workshop in recent times. Being able to share ideas to help you out and answer your questions, offering possible solutions to problems is a joy in itself. It has been great to have a small insight into how wood work is enjoyed by so many of us throughout the world and the Welsh lovespoon tradition is a source of interest and fascination for us all too.

The process of making YouTube videos is something that we continue to enjoy and learn more about each and every time. Hopefully, the key value of each YouTube video is apparent to you the viewer. Before we develop a story board for filming, we ask the question of ourselves, what does the video offer the viewer? Sometimes, it is simply entertainment and seeing the process of handcarving a lovespoon. Usually, our YouTube videos, are based upon teaching and helping you the viewer to learn more about wood work, scroll saw, wood carving and love spoon carving. Ultimately if we don’t feel the viewer gets good value from watching a video, we just don’t make the video. So going into 2021, we are excited to continue providing you, as the viewer, the best possible value in learning wood working though our YouTube channel.

The growth of our website has continued, being a source of great hope for our future. We are so grateful to you all for continuing to support our family workshop via our website throughout 2020. As a small business, it is increasingly difficult to compete with the giant companies who seek dominance over everything. Thanks to the support we have received from you all, we have been able to survive within this increasingly difficult environment. We always seek to offer you all the best possible service and quality, striving to meet the expectation you might have of us. It is our hope that the personal service we continue to provide and the love we put into everything we hand carve for you makes supporting our family workshop a worthwhile thing to do. In this light, our bespoke love spoon service has been another highlight for us, allowing you the opportunity to tell your own story through the unique lovespoons we design and hand carve just for you.

Through our bespoke love spoon service and YouTube channel, we can tie all aspects of our evolving family workshop together. The process of hand carving each bespoke love spoon is filmed using a time lapse. The time lapse is then shared on our YouTube channel, allowing the recipient the unique opportunity to see the work that has gone into the love spoon that has been created for them.

So all in all 2020 has proven to be a year of great change and challenge for our family workshop but we embrace this change and challenge with great enthusiasm. The future remains uncertain, as it is for us all but our love for the work we do endures throughout and our hopes that the struggles of 2020 can grow into a better future does not waver. Our commitment to continue providing the best possible service and quality, through hand carving love spoons here in Wales also remains as strong as ever.

We hope you all enjoy a happy and peaceful Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year. Thank you all again for continuing to support us here at The Lovespoon Workshop.

November 2020 – The Secret Life of Lovespoons Documentary

The lovespoon tradition dates back to the 17th century, with the earliest example dating 1667. Studying the early examples it is clear to see a range of different symbols and ideas expressed within the tradition. It seems apparent that early carvers were indeed expressing messages through the work that they undertook. For us at The Lovespoon Workshop this has always been one of the core ideas behind the love spoons that we handcarve. The story that a love spoon has to tell is a key aspect in making the tradition stand out from other traditions that on face value might seem very similar. The story and message that a lovespoon portrays can be seen as what separates it from the many other traditional wooden items that are often crafted with equally and sometimes even greater degrees of skill.

Crafting spoons and utensils from wood is an age old process and continues to be practised by many throughout the world. Today, spoon carving comes in any number of forms and styles, as well as in a wide variety of design complexity. From time to time we are fortunate enough that others share images of the work that they have undertaken and it is a great joy to see the craft and care that is displayed. The question that is always at the forefront of my thinking when presented with such images remain a constant. What is the story behind the finished item?

For ourselves the story in essence what it is all about. Many spoons and lovespoons display great skill and craftsmanship and are indeed impressive in their complexity but it never ceases to amaze how frequently the design is accompanied by no meaningful story. Often, it is a case of seeing something in a book, social media or copying what has already been crafted by someone else. It is not to say there is anything wrong with doing such things but for ourselves here at The Lovespoon Workshop the story and message is the key to making a lovespoon and indeed the tradition at large stand out form the crowd.

A simple lovespoon that carries a powerful message can be just as impactful as one that has numerous hours of toil and for me even more so. This can be highlighted through different designs to represent the birth of a child. The traditional symbols to record the birth of a child include a link and a seed. Over the years we have been tasked with incorporating both symbols into numerous different lovespoon designs. The skill and labour required to craft both symbols is appropriate to record such a joyous event. Equally, we have chosen to record the birth of a child in several other ways and the messages included have often been more profound. A simple flower can depict a notion that it is hoped that life and love will blossom. A ship on the ocean carries a message of the hope that the ocean of life will be navigated successfully. An acorn presenting the idea of growing big and strong.

Through this example it is clear that a symbol that carries a message can give a lovespoon carving extra impact, helping it to stand out from the crowd. Every day, here at The Lovespoon Workshop, it is the stories behind that lovespoons on display that have the greatest impact. On first impression, many are struck by the different carvings that are on display at our workshop. On face value, they do create an impact upon most who see them but it is the story that underpin each and every creation that we make that leaves the lasting impression. So for those who seek to have their work stand out from the crowd, the approach that we take, is to portray a meaningful message and story through the work undertaken each and every day.

Click on the YouTube link ABOVE to see our first documentary, ‘The Secret life of love spoons’.

October 2020 – Lovespoon Symbols, what do they mean?

This is an area of the tradition that we find ourselves reflecting upon time and time again. It is probably the part of the lovespoon tradition that has received the greatest amount of attention throughout the history of the tradition. Frequently, here at The Lovespoon Workshop visitors will enquire, ‘what does this symbol mean?’ and ‘what is the meaning of this lovespoon?’ For ourselves, it would probably be easier to just provide a generic answer to the proposition, as opposed to being truthful in regard to the enquiry but as with all we do with our work, we seek to present the tradition in an authentic manner. In order to present our answer in such a manner it is always explained that symbols and meanings are open to interpretation. So within this context we provide our response.

Having provided the above context, some further insight is possible to be provided in relation to the meaning of lovespoon symbols. Below are some ideas upon what specific symbols can be used to portray.

The Welsh Dragon- Being a Welsh tradition the red dragon is one of our national emblems so is ideal as a feature to designs that have a strong Welsh theme. It has provided a centrepiece to several of our lovespoon designs. The dragon is also described as depicting an idea of protection.

Cymru am byth Lovespoon

The Anchor- Nautical symbols are somewhat steeped in the history of the Welsh lovespoon tradition. The earliest lovespoons often included symbols and themes that were linked to the sea and travel by sea. This ties in with the belief that sailors and seaports were central to the start and evolution of the lovespoon tradition. The anchor is a symbol that can depict ideas of stability. It has also provided a focal point to several of our lovespoon designs, depicting the idea of being anchored together in life and love.

Anchored in love lovespoon

The Wheel- Another early symbol upon lovespoons that has stood the test of time is the wheel. Popular interpretations include the notion of ‘I will work for you’ but it is also used as a depiction of travel.

The Daffodil- Like the red dragon the daffodil is another national emblem here in Wales so it is a popular addition to designs that have a Welsh theme to them. It is also used to represent the hope that ‘love will blossom’ or ‘continue to blossom’. Additionally, it is popular for those who have a love for the natural world and the environment around us.

Primavera lovespoon

Ship on the Ocean- As previously outlined nautical themes can be traced back to the earliest stages of the Welsh lovespoon tradition. The Ship on the Ocean is one idea that we still utilise on several of our designs. Like the anchor it is a popular choice for those who are associated in some form to life and work on the sea. The ship is more frequently used to express the hope that we will cross the ocean of life safely.

A Twist- The twist has become an increasingly popular feature within our lovespoon designs. Often we have taken inspiration from Celtic design in the development of twists and knots. It can be seen as depicting a desire to grow and ‘bind’ closer as we journey though life together.

Cwtch lovespoon

Above, a few interpretations and insights into just a few the numerous lovespoon symbols have been provided. As always we would like to make it clear that interpretations of symbols are significantly more numerous that the various symbols themselves. A symbol can have a very different meaning to a particular individual and ultimately the same symbol can express numerous stories depending upon the individual lovespoon. Additionally, we express a cautious approach when confronted with the numerous lists that proclaim an almost definitive insight into what lovespoon symbols mean. Many of these have been developed within the last 50 years and whilst often containing varying amounts of truth they are in essence just one interpretation about what a symbol can represent. The belief developed here at our family workshop over the last 50 years is that lovespoons included messages and stories from the outset but these can vary greatly from lovespoon to lovespoon and would require insight from the individual maker to genuinely understand the unique messages. Ultimately, here at The Lovespoon Workshop being able to add to the interpretations and stories allow the lovespoon tradition to evolve and continue to stand out as a unique tradition. It is the stories and messages that underpin the lovespoon designs and symbols that gives the tradition its unique character. Being able to interpret these symbols in different ways allows the individual to tell their own unique love story through the medium of the Welsh lovespoon.

September 2020- Is the lovespoon truly a tradition for all?

This could be one of our shortest ever updates because the answer is very simple, YES the lovespoon is a tradition for all. We could leave things there and move on to next month’s activities but it is the nature of what we do to explore this idea just a little bit further. A lovespoon can be designed and handcarved to adapt to virtually any individual or occasion.

Whilst other traditions can find themselves entrenched and restricted to a world that no longer exists, the Welsh love spoon has the capacity to keep pace within the contemporary context. As the world changes the love spoon shows its capacity to adapt and evolve. It is reflective of love itself where things can change over time and be expressed in different ways but in its essence true love remains consistent and constant.

Over the years we have had the good fortune to be asked to make love spoons for a wide range of different people and purposes. In some instances, the story of the individual, couple or group has been explained, followed by a question of ‘is that OK?’ For us here at The Lovespoon Workshop our response has always been swift and with a slight chuckle to ourselves. Of course it is OK, after all a lovespoon, in its essence, is about love.

As we are aware, love comes in all different forms and we love to celebrate it in all its different forms, through our range of lovespoons. We always seek to cater for all and are very grateful for the fact that the lovespoon has shown a great ability to be all embracing. It is in many ways a tradition that does not have boundaries. Like love itself the lovespoon tradition has shown an ability to overcome and evolve to all challenges placed before it. This is little surprise when you consider that ‘love’ is in the name and love is the very foundation of the tradition. Love is the message of the tradition and love can conquer all before it.

So regardless of ever changing circumstances, the lovespoon tradition continues to be a profound expression of love. The stories of its origin and how it is believed to have evolved remain an important part of its history but it is a tradition that evolves and it remains as relevant to the world today, as it was within the world that first developed the idea some 350 years ago.

August 2020- The lovespoon and the future of the planet!!

It may seem like an overly dramatic statement above but we all need to address our impact and role within the world we live. Within the modern world, the Welsh lovespoon can seem to be a tradition that is somewhat from a different time. The skills and methods that we use are indeed in contrast to the vast majority of things that are made today. Mass production is a world away from the activities undertaken here at our family workshop on a daily basis. So what does this mean for the tradition and does the lovespoon have a future within a world that continues to develop at such a ferocious rate?

Clearly here at The Lovespoon Workshop our belief is that the Welsh lovespoon definitely has a future and it will continue to go from strength to strength. Our conviction in our belief is based upon the fact that the tradition has endured for so long and that the level of interest in the tradition shows no signs of losing momentum. Year on year, it is evident that the interest in our simple tradition is increasing. In a world that is turning its attention to the environment and the nature around us, the activities that are undertaken here at our family workshop on a daily basis seem to be increasingly relevant.

Whilst some proclaim that by using wood as our raw material, mean our activities are in detriment to the environment, the reality is that our activities are increasingly focused on creating a positive environmental legacy. This we hope to achieve by continuing with our tree planting project and taking further steps to achieve our ultimate goal of achieving a carbon neutral lifestyle. This is the mindset that we proceed with and we believe everyone will need to make steps to assist in dealing with the environmental issues that increasingly takes a hold of the entire planet.

Being able to produce upon a local level is likely to become a necessary development for all. Increased interest and understanding of the natural world will also be a likely development over the coming years. Within this context, it is evident that the lovespoon tradition will likely have a strong future. Working with wood on a daily basis provides a great insight into the material that we use. It also gives us an appreciation and love for the material, that might be lacking in others who are not fortunate enough to enjoy the process of crafting wood into the desired form.

So as we proceed forward we will continue to present the skills of woodcarving, that are increasingly rare in the fast pace of modern living. We will continue to present the tradition in the most authentic manner possible, whilst also introducing new ideas that keeps the lovespoon relevant to the world we live in. Additionally, we will seek to be responsible in all we do as a family business. Whilst our scale of production is small, it still remains important to take responsibility for the methods and consequences of the product produced. Using recycled and reclaimed wood remains our preference and minimalising waste is always an aim. As manufacturers it is essential to take responsibility for what you have produced and the legacy that your product creates. The environmental issues need all of us to deal with the problems collectively but manufacturers need to be at the forefront of addressing the legacy created by the process of production and product produced. Within this context the lovespoon and the work we undertake as a family should continue to have a positive future and a positive message to portray for many years to come.

July 2020. The Lovespoon Workshop on YouTube

Presenting the lovespoon tradition has always been a key part of day to day life here at The Lovespoon Workshop. It is a continual blessing that people have interest in the tradition and the work that we undertake as a family. In recent years we have recognised that YouTube is one platform for us to further present our work to the world at large. Lockdown in particular has highlighted brought this into sharper focus. To be able to share the process of designing and handcarving lovespoons on such a platform gives us an opportunity to present what we do in a different way. Indeed, it gives us a different perspective upon the entire creative process.

As a family, having a video record of how different work has been undertaken is another method of preserving the work we have undertaken for future years. Various projects like the making of ‘The Longest handcarved lovespoon’ ‘The Book lovespoon’ and numerous bespoke lovespoon projects are preserved through the medium of video. For us it is great, on occasion to look back on various lovespoons and have a little reminder of exactly how specific lovespoons were completed. Indeed it occasionally stimulates a few thoughts of why we chose to take on some challenges in the first place!!

Our YouTube channel Dai ‘lovespoons’ Thomas also affords us the opportunity to provide an insight into how you can make your own lovespoon. From the feedback received it is encouraging to see how many have used the videos to assist on their own journey with the Welsh lovespoon tradition. It is something that we were able to do through the workshop itself in previous years but unfortunately the rules, regulations and health and safety in the modern world make it more difficult to allow others to make their own lovespoon here at the workshop.

The process of making a video provides different challenges and the skills required are in stark contrast to what we undertake in our daily working lives. Having said that it is a process that we thoroughly enjoy and it is amazing to gain a little insight into the creative process that is the making and delivering of a video. It certainly gives us a greater appreciation of the work that is undertaken by video and film makers.

Our own journey in filming the lovespoon process began in 1992. Keith Owen agreed to film the making of our yearly lovespoon. Following on from this introduction several other yearly lovespoons were recorded through the medium of film. In addition to our own work we have been fortunate enough to have several professional film crews in to our workshop and we have always sought to glean greater insight into the process of film making. It is of great personal interest to see how a storyboard is developed and how a film is constructed from the raw sections of film from the day of filming.

Film and videos have certainly played a role in the development of our family workshop. It has allowed us exposure into a wider audience that would not have otherwise been possible. Over the years we have attempted to refine our own process of constructing a video and we continue to learn from each and every video that we make. It is great to see how our YouTube channel continues to grow and we are delighted to continue sharing the work we love through the videos we enjoy making.

June 2020

As lockdown carries on into another month we continue to look for ways to share the work we do with the Welsh lovespoon tradition at our family workshop within this new ‘normal’. The workshop itself remains closed to visitors for the forseable future but interest remains thanks to various digital platforms.

YouTube in particular has proved successful in igniting an area that we had increasingly moved away from. Due to the significant growth in rules, regulations, red tape and health and safety we took the decision over twenty five years ago to stop teaching others how to make lovespoons here at The Lovespoon Workshop. At the time we felt that it was a sad change but necessary within a world that placed so many obstacles in the way of us teaching our craft. It was a necessary step to protect our family workshop for the future to cease all such activities.

Many years later and in the middle of these unprecedented circumstances, teaching others to make lovespoons has once more been brought into the forefront of our weekly work here at The Lovespoon Workshop. So much so, that we have created a brand new page on our website with the sole focus of helping you learn how to make your own lovespoon. Returning to the issue of health and safety etc. we mush emphasise once more that any work undertaken with wood working tools and wood carving chisels and gouges carries a degree of risk and as such you partake in such activities at your own personal risk. The learning process, however, is now being delivered throughout the world and without any direct relationship between those teaching and learning, thanks to YouTube.

The focus of our YouTube channel and our new website page is to assist anyone who has a desire to learn how to carve Welsh lovespoons and learn the skill of wood carving. We are providing a wide variety of FREE resources to help you in the process of learning wood carving and trying to assist you in the development of your skills. We continue to bring you videos through our YouTube channel, free design and template ideas through our new website page, that all aim to help you in the process of learning wood carving. (please be aware that designs and templates that are clearly marked as FREE LOVESPOON PATTERN are the only designs you are allowed to copy from The Lovespoon Workshop without permission being granted. All other designs, including all designs in our online lovespoon shop are the intellectual property and the sole property of The Lovespoon Workshop) Folow the link below to see our new How to make YOUR own Welsh Lovespoons page.

How to make YOUR own Welsh lovespoons

Hopefully some of the techniques and ideas will help you to start or continue developing your wood carving skills in a safe way. With the difficult current circumstances we all continue to endure, learning wood carving and lovespoon making can provide escapism and an outlet for our creativity. Wood is a fantastic medium to work in and it can be a way to generate and develop a positive mental outlook. Working with our hands and fashioning a raw piece of wood into the form we desire is  both stimulating and rewarding.

Now really is the perfect time to begin your own wood carving journey. Take advantage of the free resources we continue to provide and learn how to make your own Welsh lovespoons. Share in the fantastic feeling of crafting a lovespoon into the form you desire. The resources we have provided give you the benefit of over fifty years of wood carving experience to hopefully point you in the right direction and ultimately succeed in learning the skills required to be a wood carver. We hope that everyone will enjoy the free resources we continue to provide and remember if you wish for us to make a specific video about an area of wood carving you need help with remember to put it in the comment section below one of our videos. Don’t forget to subscribe and ring the bell of our channel so you know when we upload a new video and happy wood carving from us all here at The Lovespoon Workshop. Follow the link below to see all of our free lovespoon videos on YouTube.

The Lovespoon Workshop on YouTube

(please be aware that whilst our videos focus upon teaching you safe practice, please ensure your own safety when undertaking any wood working projects. Under eighteens should only undertake such projects under strict adult supervision)

May 2020- The Lovespoon Workshop on Lockdown

So as lockdown continues for us all, we thought it was a good time to update everyone on what is going on here at The Lovespoon Workshop. As some of you will be aware, we live on site here at our family workshop, so we continue to be busy with what we are able to continue doing for the time being. It is certainly a strange situation to have the workshop empty at a time that would normally be so busy. Despite this, we are fortunate because we have so many other things to keep us busy at this difficult time for everyone.

With the continuing growth of our presence online, we are fortunate that both bespoke lovespoon requests and online orders continue to come in at a steady rate. Many of these requests have some wonderful themes and stories, including the handcarving of an open book, two projects including dolphins and a lovespoon based upon our family design to record 2018. Even online, things have slowed down, mainly due to the cancellation of so many weddings and so many plans being put on hold due to these unprecedented circumstances. A real shame but a necessary step to assist in the ongoing battle against coronavirus (covid-19).

With the additional time, we have started a new top secret lovespoon project. An idea that has been in the waiting for over a decade and ultimately, if we don’t start it now, the question of when we start, must be raised. It is a project that is exciting and time consuming in equal measures but we hope it will be able to be enjoyed by many at some point in the future. It is the type of ‘we must be mad’ project that has provided a focal point to our family collection of lovespoons over the past fifty years.

As in all circumstance, we seek to make positive improvements to what we have to offer you. In light of this, we have focussed our attention on providing a greater number of designs through our online lovespoon shop. Adding a further four designs last month and planning to add several more over the coming weeks and months. Having time to develop new designs and ideas is an exciting change that we have embraced at this difficult time.

The decision to focus increasingly upon making videos, to share the work we love, was made back in January, following on from Visit Wales filming here at our family workshop but it has become an increasingly important part of our weekly routine during the lockdown. The ongoing growth of our YouTube channel is certainly something that we are very grateful for at this time. It provides a focal point for us try and contribute something positive, in the hope that others might benefit from our knowledge.

The final idea we have had to offer something positive during lockdown, is our lockdown lovespoon competition. This provides an opportunity to design your own lovespoon and enter it into our competition. We continue to choose winning entries and send them to the recipients chosen by the winning entries. Hopefully this has provided another small opportunity through our workshop during the lockdown. So far, two designs have been chosen, made and sent. You can find more information about the lockdown lovespoon competition via the video link above this update.

At this time, as with everyone we continue to do our best to stay safe and provide a small but well meaning and positive contribution. It is indeed the most challenging circumstance we have faced since opening in 1975 but we will continue to express our simple messages of hope and love through the Welsh lovespoon tradition. We also continue to seek to make a positive contribution where it is possible. For now, we wish you all to stay safe and well and hope you will continue following the advise to assist those who find themselves on the front line in the ongoing fight with coronavirus (covid-19)

Thank you to everyone in the fight against coronavirus, together we can overcome and rebuild.

Check out one of our latest videos showing how I handcarved a  special lovespoon to record the birth of my second son.

April 2020 – A family affair, The Lovespoon Workshop

Hi all, this update was written back at Christmas time, before the events of the past few months. When I summed up stating how the future is always an unknown quantity, how little did I realise just how unknown a quantity. I hope you still enjoy the update. Thankfully, as I write to you all of us here at The Lovespoon Workshop are safe and well and I hope you are all safe and well too. Hopefully these thoughts might bring a little escapism from the current circumstances. Thank you all for supporting our family business, stay safe you are all in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult and uncertain time, best wishes Thomas the Woodcarver and family.

The Lovespoon Workshop was started back in 1975 by Kerry and Jill Thomas. With a young family the journey began in developing a family workshop with wood and the Welsh lovespoon as its focal point. The purchase of a small plot of land in 1973 was the starting point and the construction of a family home and workshop was undertaken. With little resources and limited assistance the process of developing such a project was not an easy one and many challenges had to be overcome along the journey.

In the early years, things were far from easy, indeed one local resident declared that the workshop would be closed within six months but we ploughed on as a family and over 44 years on the lovespoon has never been busier. For many years the lovespoon was not the main driving force of our family workshop with clocks, barometers, house signs and dolls houses providing an equal or even greater flow of work. For many years it was only possible to have a lovespoon from our workshop if the customer spent time working on it themselves, with some guidance along the way. Times changed though and we found it increasingly worrying to allow others to ‘have a go’. The world also changed and fewer people wanted to take the time making their own lovespoon, preferring the idea of having us make it for them. This proved a turning point in our family workshop and the decision was taken to make lovespoons for those who came to visit. Thankfully, it proved to be a decision that has allowed the workshop to grow and flourish up to the current day.

Growing up around our family business was always a happy experience. Meeting new people and seeing the different projects always provided much interest and fascination. As with everything minor irritations arose but today these are remembered with much humour. The family outings that were delayed or cancelled because a car arrived to visit just as we were about to leave. The sight of us all exiting the car on mass with an explanation of ‘this will only take a moment’ fresh in our ears. Of course it never did ‘only take a moment’, through the eyes of a child it always seemed to take forever and often resulted in no sales, adding to the frustration of the entire situation.

Growing up around the workshop it was always a great risk to wake up late on a weekend with an early coach visiting. You could find yourself at the back of the queue to your own bathroom and if you tried to cut in front of someone, you would be told to return to the back of the line by a complete stranger in your own house!! Thankfully the workshop has had toilet facilities for over twenty years, partly due to the complaints of family members.

Despite the infrequent irritations life in and around the workshop was always a happy one. As my own children start to show an interest in the workshop the memories of how lucky we were to witness life in our family workshop from such an early age begin to flood back. To be able to learn a skill, seeing how a craftsmen fashions a simple piece of wood into any manner of different forms was a privilege that only in adult life I was fully aware of. In a modern world, where production is automated and handcrafts are increasingly rare it makes me realise how fortune I was to grow up in an environment where working practically was a norm.

Whilst the future is always an unknown quantity the fact that our children are growing up in the same environment gives them the same opportunity. Whilst no expectations are put upon them, they are afforded the same opportunities that were presented to myself within this environment. As the modern world moves further towards automated production and less practical work, creating something from wood is something that is increasingly rare and I am delighted that they will have the opportunity to experience the same as myself if it interests them in a similar way.

Check out one of our latest videos showing how you can make your own love spoon in seven steps.

March 2020 – What came first, the wood or the lovespoon?

In last months news update we focussed upon the use of a spoon and how it is likely to have had a special meaning and significance it might have. This month our attention is upon the wood and another question that is frequently put forward by visitors to The Lovespoon Workshop. That question is, what comes first when making a lovespoon? Do you choose a piece of wood and develop a design for it or do you design a spoon and find the wood for it? To answer such a question is to find ourselves in a similar scenario as the chicken and egg one!!

When working with a natural material such as wood it is not possible to always take a piece of wood and add whatever design you want to it. Numerous factors must be taken into consideration when working in a material that is as unique and varied as the people that the lovespoons are made for. As such, each and every piece of wood must be assessed before any further work is undertaken. Splits and knots are two such features that need to be reviewed before the process of making a lovespoon is undertaken. Even after a full assessment has been completed it is often the case that something hidden within the wood itself is presented.

On other occasions the process of wood selection is undertaken in a completely different manner and the wood is selected before the design is even considered. This is in evidence within our own family collection of lovespoons. Back in 2010 Ash was chosen due to us recording the rescue of the Chilean miners in an escape capsule called the ‘phoenix’ and of course the ‘phoenix rises from the ashes’. In 2012 London Plane was selected as our focus was partly upon the London Olympics.

Another method is necessary when dealing with bespoke lovespoons. Due to the greater flexibility that is provided through this process the individual can select the wood that is most appealing or relevant to the particular project. On occasion the wood is provided that has an added meaning to the situation. From old furniture, fixtures and fittings and on one occasion wood reclaimed from Bournemouth pier.

When dealing with wood, the size, shape and form all have to be taken into consideration before marking out the design that will be crafted. It is a slow process but a rewarding one at the same time. It is a great pleasure to see a discarded old table given new life and meaning through the medium of the Welsh lovespoon. To be able to reclaim and reuse wood all adds to the colour and character of the work that we do. The starting point of the work that we do is often the wood itself and having a passion and love for the material used helps in the process of making a lovespoon.

Clearly it is impossible for us to answer such a question as outlined above. Similarly to the proposition of how long does it take to make a lovespoon? A simple and concise answer is difficult to provide. It is a lovely process, with much fascination along the journey of transforming a beautiful piece of wood into a traditional Welsh lovespoon. The time it takes and the wood used is all part of the story but regardless of what came first and how long it took the end result it always worth the journey undertaken.

February 2020- Why a Spoon?

Throughout the year we are fortunate enough to have numerous groups and individuals visit us at our family workshop and as a result certain questions provide a recurring theme. One such question is regarding the very basis of the tradition itself and that is the idea of why a spoon? On numerous occasions each year this proposition is put forward to us. In order to deal with this enquiry it is necessary to return to the very beginnings of the lovespoon and in some ways try to fill in the gaps that have been left upon its journey and evolution.

To begin with, it is best to focus upon the aspects of the tradition that are known. For instance the lovespoon tradition is dated back to the 17th century. This is supported by the fact that here in Wales a surviving lovespoon dated 1667 remains in existence and is in residence at The National Folk Museum of Wales. Despite this, it is likely that the lovespoon pre-dates the 17th century but without the physical proof it just isn’t possible to make such a conclusion. Therefore the 17th century remains the starting point in the history of the Welsh lovespoon tradition.

It is also evident that messages were included within the designs of lovespoons throughout its evolution. This is an aspect of the tradition that has been continued here at The Lovespoon Workshop and something that is used as a cornerstone of the way the tradition is presented through our family workshop. Whilst some aspects of the tradition are clear, others remain more open and as such can be interpreted in different ways. This is indeed where the question of ‘why a spoon’ is focussed upon and as such an aspect of interpretation is required to provide an insight into this question.

The thoughts that are put forward in regards to this question include the idea that lovespoons originate from practical cooking style utensils. Indeed, early examples of knives, forks and spoons remain in existence today. Additionally, the link with the Welsh ‘cawl’ spoon can also be made. For those who are unfamiliar with ‘cawl’ it is a traditional lamb or ham soup or broth that would have been served and eaten with a soup style wooden ladle, known as a ‘cawl’ spoon. The process of being developed into a lovespoon, includes the decorating of the stem in a variety of different ways, including names and dates. The existence of sets of knives, forks and spoons also raises the notion that lovespoons might have been made as gifts for weddings. Local craftsmen fashioning various personalised utensils for the young couple as a practical and personal token for their future together.

Here at The Lovespoon Workshop another version of ‘why a spoon’ is presented and one that is in keeping with a tradition that has love as its focal point. A spoon is often used to mix and blend, bringing ingredients together. This is reflected within a relationship together, as two become one within a relationship the ingredients that make up the two individuals must be mixed together in order to create a new working recipe. As a family grows, new ingredients are added to the recipe and as they are blended together a family unit develops.

So in dealing with the question of why a love‘spoon’ the practical mixing and blending that is achieved through the use of a spoon can also be seen as symbolic. The mixing and blending of two lives and personalities together in the journey of life and love as a couple, it is apparent that a spoon has greater relevance than other practical cooking and eating utensils. As always it is necessary to air a note of caution that some of the ideas presented are based upon educated guesses and interpretation. We do know that hidden messages were included within lovespoons and this provides us plenty of scope to conclude that the use of a spoon was no accident and indeed carried an additional importance.

January 2020 – A good Old fashioned Love (spoon) Story.

To begin with we would like to wish everyone a health and happy 2020. As always, the Christmas time proved a busy one for us and thankfully our latest unique handcarved lovespoon is complete and on display for all to see here at The Lovespoon Workshop. We are very excited to once again be able to share the stories that this unique lovespoon has to tell. As always our lovespoon to record the previous twelve months has proved to be a challenging yet rewarding process. It has certainly thrown up a few surprises for us but settling upon a theme of celebrating 50 years of us handcarving lovespoons as a family, has provided a positive backdrop to base our story upon. Check out the links below to see the process of how our latest lovespoon was both designed and handcarved.

The vidoes above highlight how the process of designing and making lovespoons can be an all consuming process. Indeed the process of developing the ideas that form the story of a lovespoon can take a considerable amount of time to formulate and even then the final ideas can be completely different to those first outlined. It is all part of the lovespoon process and as such we continue to enjoy this fascinating stage. We have often stated that developing ideas for a lovespoon can almost take on a life of its own and the finished design and ideas can be very different from the ones that we originally expressed. Our latest lovespoon certainly highlights that the final lovespoon can be somewhat of a surprise, even to ourselves.

The start of a new year is often a good time to formulate new ideas. Over the last few years we have seen an ever increasing presence online, via our website and various social media platforms. This has led to an increase in time and resources being dedicated to the digital audience. Whilst this may seem a world away from what we do, it is actually in keeping with how our family workshop has always developed. The methods used to make our lovespoons are very traditional, using hand tools and dedicating many hours to handcarving with a wide variety of chisels and gouges. These methods have continued unchanged here at The Lovespoon Workshop and have indeed stood the test of time. However, it has always been recognised, that to remain relevant within the modern world we live, some aspects need to be utilised in order to reach out to those who have an interest in what we seek to preserve.

With the above in mind, it is always a great pleasure when a message is received from someone else who is having a go at handcarving their own lovespoons and needs that little bit of direction in overcoming an obstacle that has presented itself. It is also good to know that the new platforms have proved effective in bringing a new audience to us. To have people throughout the world visit both our digital platforms and the physical workshop itself is something that we couldn’t have dreamt of when our first family lovespoon was handcarved back in 1969.

Returning to today, it is a fascination to study the map to see exactly where some of our lovespoons reach throughout the world, places including Dubai, Israel, Canada, Hong Kong, China and Russia, to name just a few, as well as all corners of the USA and Europe. Without a digital platform such a global audience would prove so much more difficult to cater for and it is wonderful to be able to present our tradition to this audience.

Clearly, digital platforms have had a huge effect upon our family workshop in recent years. To be able to reach out to such a varied and widespread audience is an opportunity that up until recent times seemed impossible. Such opportunities present us with some challenges but also provide the motivation and direction to develop the work we are doing in presenting the lovespoon tradition in an authentic and unique manner. Indeed, it is our intention to introduce more of what we do here, on a day to day basis at The Lovespoon Workshop, to a digital audience throughout 2020.

Returning to the theme of our lovespoon and the message that we portray, our lovespoon to record 2019 is a celebration of what we have done over the last 50 years as a family through the Welsh lovespoon tradition. The methods and scale of delivering the message might have changed greatly but we continue to express a simple message of love. Our love story began in 1969 through presenting a simple lovespoon as a proposal of marriage and love remains the corner stone of all that we do as we move forward into a New Year. As always we do not know where the next step upon our journey in life and love with the Welsh lovespoon will take us. We hope that the journey will continue to allow us to express our message of love. Over the last 50 years we have been blessed to continually present our family story to our audience as a ‘good old fashioned love (spoon) story’.

December 2019- Another amazing year at The Lovespoon Workshop

How many times is it said that time flies but how true it is. It doesn’t seem twelve months since I sat down to think about the previous twelve months but here it is again. It seems equally inconceivable that 2019 could have been busier that 2018 but indeed it proved to be so. The steady flow of groups and individuals through the workshop doors remained a constant throughout the year but the digital audience is where the greatest developments have continued to come.

New designs and ideas were developed, bespoke requests came in at an ever increasing rate and our lovespoon to record the year is proving to be a popular, contemporary and unique proposition. Indeed at times during 2019 it proved somewhat difficult to keep pace with the rate of development and as such it is a great delight to witness the ever increasing interest that the wider world has for the Welsh lovespoon tradition.

Two big school projects provided a focal point earlier in the year and the opportunity to share our tradition with future generations is one that was enthusiastically grasped. The chance to inspire those who might be the future of the Welsh lovespoon is something that has always been at the heart of what The Lovespoon Workshop has presented over the last 44 years. The role of custodians of the tradition is an important one and it is hoped that such projects might help to build the foundations for others to embrace the lovespoon tradition within Wales and continue to present it to the wider world in their own unique way.

As always it has been a great pleasure to meet so many people, some new and others more familiar but we remain grateful to all for the continued support in keeping The Lovespoon Workshop a popular visitor attraction for those wishing to seek out the authentic and uniquely Welsh. To play a small role in the celebration of so many happy occasions, from births to weddings, engagements and anniversaries too, it is a blessing to contribute in a simple yet unique way.

The ideas that are presented have provided much inspiration and challenge for us and in equal measures. Bespoke ideas including boats and various birds, castles and cathedrals, tents and sheep, logos and flowers of all different kinds. The challenge that designing and creating such lovespoons continue to push us to improve our skills. Each and every project presents its own issues to overcome but it is this that retains our love for what we do.

With our thoughts moving onto 2020, here at The Lovespoon Workshop we will seek to continually progress in our work with continuing the 17th century welsh lovespoon tradition in Wales today. As always it is recognised that further progress will be made and as such further development will continue here at our family workshop. The ideas for further development are already afoot and in 2020 we hope to be able to present our ideas to the wider world.

Wishing everyone a very happy Christmas as we move into what will hopefully be an exciting 2020 here at The Lovespoon Wrokshop.

Bespoke lovespoons handcarved here at The Lovespoon Workshop in 2019.
Bespoke lovespoons handcarved here at The Lovespoon Workshop in 2019.
Bespoke lovespoons handcarved here at The Lovespoon Workshop in 2019.
Bespoke lovespoons handcarved here at The Lovespoon Workshop in 2019.
Bespoke lovespoons handcarved here at The Lovespoon Workshop in 2019.
Bespoke lovespoons handcarved here at The Lovespoon Workshop in 2019.

November 2019, Sourcing wood revisited, Spain

Sourcing wood to make lovespoons from is something that we are continually focussed upon. As a family business we pride ourselves on using wood from sustainable sources. It is necessity to have a constant supply of wood to allow us to continually produce more lovespoons. Sources of wood include, the use of old furniture, fixtures and fittings. Local tree surgeons are another valuable link in our chain of sourcing wood for making our lovespoons from. Our local furniture sale is another valuable resource for the wood we use and it never ceases to amaze how hardwood is often viewed as being of little value.

For us good quality hardwood is extremely valuable and is always at the core of what we do here at our family workshop. Whilst these sources of wood listed above are invaluable, we are always open to the idea of seeking out new ways to source wood. Whilst on holiday in central Spain such an opportunities are presented. One Wood, known locally as Sabina is seen throughout the area that we stay in and has been used for a wide variety of purposes.

Today Sabina, translated into English as Juniper is protected within this region and as such is not an obvious choice to source. However, whilst cutting pathways for electricity cables the authorities often clear sections of trees in order to create a route for the lines to follow. Instead of the wood being stored and dried under cover, it is often discarded and left with no further purpose. This is where the opportunity is presented to source this beautiful wood.

Many within the area simply go out seeking the wood that remains in the location where it was felled. Due to the favourable climate it is usually perfectly sound and often partially or completely dried and ready for processing. For ourselves this leaves one clear challenge, how to get the wood back to West Wales? Thankfully, due to the global world that we now live in this is not a significant challenge, with a number of options available to move the wood back to our workshop.

Whilst it is true that it is preferable to find the wood in closer proximity to our workshop, the opportunity to make use of this beautiful wood is too great to disregard. The colours and character of Sabina is truly striking and the lovespoons crafted from it really do stand out from the crowd. If the opportunity waas not acted upon it is likely that the wood would remain unused and simply left within the environment that it was felled.

Being open to using a wide variety of sustainable woods opens up an entire world of woods with a variety of colours and character. It also provides a greater selection in the finished appearance of each and every lovespoon crafted. It is another example of the evolution of the lovespoon tradition and another way to bring a greater amount of choice in regards to what we can offer. Here at The Lovespoon Workshop providing the greatest possible choice is always a focal point of what we do and extending this to the wood itself provides an extra dimension to how we present the lovespoon tradition in the modern world today.

Lovespoon handcarved in Juniper
Lovespoon handcarved in Juniper

October 2019. Holidays and a time to reflect.

As previously discussed, here at The Lovespoon Workshop we are constantly kept occupied with sharing the amazing Welsh lovespoon tradition and it is difficult to find the time to think about how we continue to present the lovespoon in the most authentic manner, whilst keeping it relevant within an ever changing modern world. However, during August the younger members of the family took a little break, giving us a chance to reflect on how we continue to present the lovespoon tradition through our family workshop.

This time can prove particularly valuable because it allows us to consider ways to improve upon what we do. To not continually strive for improvement would be taking steps in a backwards direction. When visiting new places, it is particularly exciting for myself to visit other small family businesses, to see how they present the traditions and products that are distinctive within their respective regions.

The links we have within Spain prove invaluable in this process. It affords us the opportunity to seek out new sustainable sources of wood and also to find places and small businesses that many international tourists within Spain would seldom find. Sourcing wood in Spain is a topic that will be revisited in the coming months. The focus here is upon family businesses the idea of ‘shop local’. This is something that has always been very close to my heart.

It is lovely to see how the various local product are presented and how willing the people are to share that little bit extra about the things they have, their family business and the area the are in. The entire experience is personal and being able to put a face, voice and background history to the process of buying a few souvenirs gives the entire process a more meaningful feel. Indeed, on returning home a few small gifts from local producers provide the backdrop to share the feel and flavour of the region visited, as well as the people that have put their time and love in the making and presentation of the products that have often been at the heart of their community.

Supporting small local businesses really is something we believe strongly in. In a world where big businesses, big banks, multi national corporations and ever increasing government regulation, it is increasingly difficult for the little guy to survive. If the small shops are to have a chance in a world where everything is in the favour of big business, we hope that enough people will continue to supporting the small local family businesses and the colour and character that make different areas distinctive will remain. A world without the little guy would indeed be a much poorer and less interesting place to be.

Holidays in La Mancha, a time to reflect.
Holidays in La Mancha, a time to reflect.
Holidays in La Mancha, a time to reflect.
Holidays in La Mancha, a time to reflect.
Holidays in La Mancha, a time to reflect.
Holidays in La Mancha, a time to reflect.
Holidays in La Mancha, a time to reflect.
Holidays in La Mancha, a time to reflect.

September 2019, new generations and new ideas.

Back in the spring we were asked to make a special lovespoon for our local primary school. A school that I myself was fortunate enough to attend. Today our two sons are in attendance at the school, so being asked to make a lovespoon was something that we were very pleased to be involved with. The person that was the recipient of the lovespoon was the retiring head teacher. Being involved in recording the massive contribution that has been made to the local community was something that we were delighted about. Forty years of dedication is definitely worth recording and in a world where loyalty and longevity is becoming increasingly rare it is a stand out contribution.

It also gives us pause for thought, attending our local primary school provided a solid foundation for building many of the skills and practices that would in the future be utilised within our developing family business. Whilst the practical process of handcarving Welsh lovespoons was learnt and developed within the confines of our family workshop, other skills that have become invaluable in the development of our family business were introduced during these formative years whilst attending primary school.

Attitudes like the need to work hard, be dedicated and determined to achieve success were all introduced, developed and reinforced during these all important years. An interest in learning and the desire to improve and develop were also developed whilst in attendance at primary school, as well as the need for being reliable in the work that you do. All these core values being introduced and developed at a young age really have provided a solid platform for us to develop the work we do here at The Lovespoon Workshop.

Being involved in this project provided much food for thought about how our small family workshop has evolved over the last forty four years. Indeed as a new generation in myself and my brothers, sister and extended family became increasingly involved within the business new ideas, methods and practices saw a gradual but significant change in the way we organise the workshop. With this in mind it moves our thoughts onto the next generation. Whilst they begin their path upon life’s journey, thoughts of where the path will take them begin to formulate. Will they have an interest in the lovespoon tradtion and if so how will they develop upon what we have presented here since 1975. Will the lovespoon retain the interest that it currently enjoys and will more be done to protect the authenticity of this icon of the Welsh nation.

Whilst it is fun to consider these ideas momentarily our focus remains upon the here and now. The lovespoon is a wonderful tradition and we continue to present it in the most authentic manner possible. How future generations choose to present it is something that they will have to decide upon for themselves. We live in hope that they will continue this amazing tradition and will enjoy being involved with it but ultimately our hopes and dreams are that our children will be healthy and happy in whatever they do. On a personal not I felt blessed to attend a school where solid principles were instilled and I am grateful that these core ideas have provided a structure to apply to the work we continue to do with the 17th century Welsh lovespoon tradition.

August 2019- Imagine The Power of Love

The Imagine the Power of Love lovespoon.
The Imagine the Power of Love lovespoon.

How the time continues to march on through 2019 and we find ourselves over half way through the year. Our theme for recording the previous year, provides the backdrop for the news update from The Lovespoon Workshop in August 2019. The message portrayed by Bishop Michael Curry was indeed a profound one and we felt it was the perfect partner to our 50th unique family lovespoon.

As outlined on numerous occasions the unique collection of lovespoons here at The Lovespoon Workshop all have a story and a message to tell. It’s amazing to think that the collection has grown to record each and every year for fifty years. Some of the messages over the previous years have been powerful but none more so that the most recent addition. It is a prime example of what, for us, the lovespoon is all about. The design itself is not one of our more elaborate ones but the message is the key ingredient. Love, of course, is the focal point of the tradition we work with, it’s even in the name!!

All that is done here at The Lovespoon Workshop is focussed towards this key idea, love. The lovespoon is made for and inspired by that very idea. From new arrivals, to birthdays, engagements, weddings and anniversaries the lovespoon is used as an expression of love that can adapt to any type of event or occasion. For everyone here at The Lovespoon Workshop it is great to be able to have a small part to play in this expression of love through the handcarving of our lovespoons.

For ourselves it is a great fortune to love both the tradition we work in and the material used to make the spoons from. The countless hours spent crafting numerous lovespoons can only be done if a true love for what you are doing exists. It certainly gives the idea of a labour of love a clearer understanding.

Ultimately that is what the tradition is all about, love. It is a simple and uncomplicated message and can be expressed through the most simple of spoons. It is a simple thought for a friend, partner, son or daughter, parents, grandparents, grandchildren or whoever. Simply expressing the thought that I love you, regardless of the context. Imagine the power of love, it truly is a powerful and positive force to behold.

The Imagine the Power of Love lovespoon.
The Imagine the Power of Love lovespoon.

July 2019-The Lovespoon. An icon of Wales

Between 2003 and 2005 the good fortune to study and complete a Masters in Heritage Tourism was presented to myself. It provided a fascinating insight into heritage throughout Wales and Europe as a larger arena, whilst also gaining a broader perspective upon the tourist industries both inside and outside of Wales. It also provided a backdrop to further research into the Welsh lovespoon tradition and its role within both Wales and the modern world at large.

Wales as a nation has a unique and distinctive culture. The language, the customs, the people, the history and the environment all add to a recipe that make Wales a fascinating location to visit. Bringing thoughts back to the Welsh lovespoon tradition, it is a prime example of cultural iconography. Similar to other distinctive arts and crafts, including Aboriginal art and Maori crafts, the lovespoon is a representation of the people, place and heritage that it has been produced by.

The lovespoon is an instantly recognisable and unique expression of Wales. Enduring over several centuries, it is a product of the people and culture that has survived. Even within an ever changing modern world. Like the Dragon, Daffodil and Leek it can be instantly recognised as a symbol of the Welsh nation and should be preserved and protected accordingly.

With this in mind it leads to the importance of presenting the tradition to the wider world in the most correct and authentic manner possible. Here at The Lovespoon Workshop we continue to handcarve all of our lovespoons on site. The workshop itself is open to all and remains free entry to everyone. This allows visitors to come and see genuine Welsh lovespoons being handcarved by craftsmen throughout the day.

By focussing our attention upon our lovespoon to record 2019, it brings this idea of authenticity into sharp focus. In the modern world, ‘fake news’ has become increasingly prevalent and this is the backdrop to our lovespoon to record 2019. It has become difficult for us all to differentiate between the real and the fake. Aboriginal art, is one example as a case study to highlight this point. The ancient skills of selecting termite hollowed trees, then handcrafting and hand painting didgeridoos and boomerangs has come under increasing threat from cheap copies made on mass in factories in Bali.

Highlighting the plight of the indigenous people of Australia upon our lovespoon to record 2019 is something very close to our hearts. Producing an authentic handcarved lovespoon is at the core of what we do here at The Lovespoon Workshop. Many hours of dedication, care and love goes into the making of a genuine handcrafted wooden item. In a world where ‘fake news’ has become so prevalent our family remain dedicated to continuing and preserving the skill of handcarving Welsh lovespoons here in Wales. The lovespoon is a true icon of the Welsh nation and presenting it as authentically as possible remains a priority for us. We maintain the hope that the Welsh nation will be able to enjoy and share the lovespoon with numerous generations to come and the fakes will not prevail over the real.

Demonstration of handcarving Welsh lovespoons.
Demonstration of handcarving Welsh lovespoons.

June 2019- Growing up around The Lovespoon Workshop

The news from The Lovespoon Workshop often takes in projects, events, incidents or activities happening here at The Lovespoon Workshop at this moment in time. The news from May focussed on continued efforts to leave a positive environmental legacy through our tree planting project. This left a note of nostalgia. One motivation for the continued efforts to leave a positive environmental legacy, is for future generations to be able to enjoy The Lovespoon Workshop as we have been able to enjoy it. From a personal perspective growing up around the workshop was a very happy and positive experience. The memories of a childhood in our small hamlet of Cold Inn are indeed happy ones.

The workshop itself always provided a focal point. Growing up around a family business had a profound and lasting impact. It would often be the case that everything would be prepared for a family day out only to be postponed by the arrival of an unexpected visitor to see our work with the Welsh lovespoon tradition. Often there would be a degree of irritation from both mum and brothers and sister but for myself and dad it was never disappointment because we were always delighted to be able to share our passion for what we love to do.

For myself and dad our favourite trips were not to the beach, he doesn’t like the sun!! or the shops or to the cinema but out to get some wood from a recently felled tree or an unwanted piece of furniture. It might be a visit to somewhere selling tools, just following dad to places that to a little boy seemed truly fascinating. The impact of these early and happy experiences must have been truly profound because the love of woodworking has remained a constant throughout.

Being in the workshop itself is the earliest and some of the happiest memories of childhood. Seeing numerous groups and individuals coming and going. All sorts of stories and characters creating a unique and colourful environment to grow up in. Learning skills also provided many happy early childhood memories. At an early age working with hand tools, copying the methods used by dad was the preferred choice than more child friendly toys. It was of course during the 1980’s, and before the invention of health and safety!! During these formative years the skills refined were indeed mere child’s play but indeed they set a foundation for a future love for both working in wood and the Welsh lovespoon tradition.

The reason for last month’s news update reviving memories of childhood is the fact that the outdoor environment in and around the hamlet of Cold Inn also provided numerous happy childhood memories. The fields, trees and space in general being a perfect playground for exploring. Numerous hours would be spent walking through the fields, climbing and falling out of trees and generally having a good nose about the area. It is with this in mind that it is hoped that future generations will be able to share in these feelings of freedom and exploration. It is one motivation for planting trees trees on site here at The Lovespoon Workshop. As stated in our conclusion to our news update from May, it is hoped that in the future others will continue to enjoy the workshop and the environment around it in the same way that all the family here at The Lovespoon Workshop have been able to.

Father and son handcarving lovespoons together at The Lovespoon Workshop.
Father and son handcarving lovespoons together at The Lovespoon Workshop.

May 2019- Tree planting project revisited.

Here at The Lovespoon Workshop preserving the natural world and environment is something that we have a passion for. Wood is at the centre of our lives and as such we recognise the essential role that trees play in the lives of us all. As previously outlined our tree planting project is regarded as key for the future generations to come. As always our aim is to plant far more trees than the wood we use. In 2019 our project has continued to grow, quite literally!!

At The Lovespoon Workshop we have always endeavoured to be an eco friendly business. From the time the workshop began in 1975 the wood sourced was often off cuts from larger wood working companies and timber merchants. The wood was often recycled and reclaimed. This is something that has been increased throughout the years, through reclaiming wood from old furniture and fixtures and fittings. The truth is in the early years we were unaware of our eco friendly methods of sourcing the wood, it was just a case of economics. Why pay for timber that had been sourced throughout the world, cut, processed and seasoned, if it could be sourced from what others regarded as of no use to them. It wasn’t planned as such just a happy coincidence that sourcing the wood in the most economic way, also turned out to be one of the most environmentally friendly ways.

Today we are fully aware of the importance of sourcing wood from responsible sources and ensure that we do just that. The extra effort of cleaning up old Mahogany window and door frames that are destined to be fire wood is certainly worth the effort for the beautiful finished lovespoon it produces.

In most recent times the extension of our eco friendly approach has become central to the work we do with the Welsh lovespoon tradition. After all it is love that is the central theme that runs through the tradition and that extends to a love for the environment and the world that we leave future generations. In previous years our tree planting project has seen us add more than a dozen Oak trees, Silver Birch trees and Hornbeam. As well as countless Holly and Hazel trees all on site here at The Lovespoon Workshop. Fruit trees including Apple, Cherry, Plum and Olive have also been added for the fruit they provide and the occasional log when maintaining their continual growth. Indeed, our thirty year old Apple tree has produced a steady flow of beautiful wood for seasoning.

The early winter months of 2019 saw the attention turn to the planting of several Walnut and Lime trees. In regards to the lime trees, it is the flowering variety that was a favourite of Grinling Gibbons that has been added to our ever growing wooded area of The Lovespoon Workshop. The Lime wood itself is soft and easy to work, often seen as a good choice for any beginner. For ourselves, the Lime and Walnut trees are valuable additions to our range of trees, especially as our established Ash trees continue to show signs of the effects of Ash dieback. Yew trees have also been added to a different site. Our tree planting project is some way from being completed and our plans continue to become ever more ambitious. It’s another small step along the journey of leaving a varied and fascinating collection of trees. It is all progress in regards to us leaving a positive mark on the beautiful natural world that provides a stunning environment for us to work and live in. A small contribution that future generations will be able to enjoy The Lovespoon Workshop environment as we have been able to.

Tree planting at The Lovespoon Workshop.
Tree planting at The Lovespoon Workshop.

April 2019- An interpretation of the Welsh Lovespoon tradition?

Over the years and through various mediums including books, video, television and live talks and demonstrations we have continually been involved in explaining what a Welsh lovespoon is. Or indeed what we believe a Welsh lovespoon to be. Here at The Lovespoon Workshop it is something we have explained to tens of thousands of visitors since we started our journey with the Welsh lovespoon tradition in 1969 and continued following the opening of the workshop in 1975.

It remains the question that needs to be answered before any other in regards to the work that we do. For this news update our thoughts are taken back to the very basics. What is a Welsh lovespoon and what do we really know about this fascinating tradition. The truthful answer to this question is that the knowledge of the origin of the tradition is somewhat limited and largely based upon the earliest surviving examples of Welsh lovespoons. Whilst this might seem like an issue when spending a lifetime working with the tradition, it is in fact to our benefit because it allows for individual interpretation.

So firstly, let us deal with what is known about the lovespoon tradition. The earliest surviving lovespoon has a date is from 1667. In our own unique collection, we have two examples dated from 1843. So we know that lovespoons have been made and given in Wales for over three hundred and fifty years. Additionally, it is believed that sailors and seaside communities made lovespoons. This is largely due to the prevalence of nautical themed spoons and symbols. The knowledge of this nautical connection is significant because it allows us to use wood sourced throughout the world, due to the fact that these communities would have had the ability to source wood throughout the world.

Another idea that is believed to be true of the Welsh lovespoon, is the inclusion of messages within the design. This is evident through the use of various symbols, many of which are now regarded as traditional Welsh lovespoon symbols. Examples include a wheel, a symbol used to express a notion of I will work for you but also being used to represent travel. The inclusion and use of symbols on lovespoons again highlights how interpretation has played and continues to play a significant role in the Welsh lovespoon tradition as it is known today.

It is worth noting that the interpretation of traditional symbols is literally that, interpretation. This is an important concept to grasp when working with the Welsh lovespoon tradition. Whilst numerous lists of symbols and their meanings are available, these are not based upon a list developed several hundred years ago but more recent interpretations of lovespoons made several hundred years ago and compiled into simple lists to help explain the symbols to a wider audience within the last fifty or so years. Such lists are indeed useful in sharing the lovespoon tradition with a wider audience and highlighting how the spoons also have a deeper meaning and message to portray. However, they should also be approached with a degree of caution because they are also open to misinterpretation and can also restrict the meaning of a symbol. A prime example was referred to by Len Evans regarding links, a symbol commonly used to represent a child but he broadened the explanation and explained how it can also represent marriage.

The interpretation that is used here at The Lovespoon Workshop is that it can cater for all individuals, ideas, beliefs, and values. It does not need to be restricted in any way. Our own early lovespoons examples, made in 1843 come in the shape of both a spoon and fork, adding further support to this approach. The wheel symbol referred to has been used in different ways to the ideas outlined above. Being added to designs for coach drivers to record the work they do on a daily basis. The symbol lists are viewed here at The Lovespoon Workshop as useful guides, as a starting point to better understand the idea that lovespoons tell stories. However, it is not necessary to bind ourselves to the lists or even the traditional symbols. Lovespoons tell the story of individuals and that is the key concept behind our work and interpretation of the tradition. Your lovespoon can tell your story, through the use of both traditional and non traditional symbols. A Simple heart design like our Heart of the Tradition lovespoon with your partners initial and yours’ carved side by side can express your shared love. Our Celebration Bells design with hearts and bells together is a perfect way to record a perfect wedding day. Or perhaps you have your own interpretation and important symbols in your life and you wish to include them in a bespoke lovespoon design. In essence one of the most beautiful parts to the Welsh lovespoon tradition, is that it will allow for a different interpretation from us all.

Lovespoons on display at The Lovespoon Workshop.
Lovespoons on display at The Lovespoon Workshop.

March 2019- Busy times ahead?

March is the time of year where the focus here at The Lovespoon Workshop is upon the busier time ahead. It is also a time of celebration here in Wales, with celebrations for our patron saint, St. David taking place on 1st March. The spring, summer and autumn months are times where The Lovespoon Workshop is a hive of activity. Sharing our work with the Welsh lovespoon tradition with visitors who come to see our workshop. Making unique bespoke lovespoons for various occasions and individuals and continuing to handcarve Welsh lovespoons here in Wales today, are all areas that keep us busy throughout the year. So March is the final opportunity to prepare the workshop before the busy times are upon us.

The winter months see all of the family here at the workshop busy with the process of making lovespoons in preperation for busier times ahead. All of our lovespoons are handcarved here on site. A labour intensive process requiring a significant amount of planning and organising to ensure our lovespoons are made for when visitors come to see us working with the Welsh lovespoon tradition. March is the time when our choice of lovespoons is getting to its best, before the workshop gets busier and the choice of designs and woods is the widest we can achieve. As the numbers of visitors increase certain woods and designs soon reduce at a rate that we are unable to replace them at. In particular woods like Yew and Laburnum produce a beautiful finished lovespoon but our supplies for these woods are limited, usually from local tree surgeons and farmers. These woods as well as fruit woods are popular choices due to the unusual character and colours in the grain and wood. Ideal choices for anyone looking for something just a little different.

March is also a perfect time to develop new ideas. Whilst the fundamental principles of handcarving all of our lovespoons here on site never change, design is an area that we always look to evolve. Designing and developing new lovespoon ideas and concepts is an exciting process for us. The process of taking a design idea and evolving it into a finished lovespoon is a really rewarding process. It is the same with the bespoke work undertaken here at The Lovespoon Workshop. Beginning with an idea, developing upon those initial thoughts, making the idea practical to working in the medium of wood and making something original and unique. It really is rewarding to feel that you are contributing to the development and preservation of a tradition that has survived in Wales for over 350 years.

March is a month filled with anticipation, hope and expectation. What will the busy times ahead bring? The season is always filled with fascinating projects, people, ideas and opportunities. It is always hoped that a successful season will follow on from a productive winter of hard work handcarving lovespoons at The Lovespoon Workshop. Here’s hoping that our journey with the Welsh lovespoon tradition will continue to be a fascinating, busy and productive one throughout the rest of 2019.

Handcarving Welsh lovespoons @ The Lovespoon Workshop.
Handcarving Welsh lovespoons @ The Lovespoon Workshop.

February 2019 Wales, the most romantic place in the World!!?

The start of the Year at The Lovespoon Workshop is always a busy time. Whilst we are often asked if we are quiet in the winter, the reality is, thankfully, we are never actually quiet. Our year fluctuates between being busy and very busy!! We are both fortunate and delighted that our little family workshop keeps us all busy. At the start of each year our focus is firmly upon finishing up our lovespoon to record the previous year, making lovespoons for the busy season ahead, as well as preparations for the two Valentines days that we celebrate here in Wales.

For anyone who might be thinking that last part was a mistake, it wasn’t, you read it correctly, here in Wales we have two Valentines days. They are only a few weeks apart and add significant weight to an argument that Wales is twice as romantic as anywhere else in the world!! St Dwynwyn is the Welsh patron saint of true lovers and is celebrated on 25th January each year here in Wales. Of course, just a few weeks later we have St Valentines day on 14th February. A country that dedicates two days to love is surely one full of romance!!

Whilst flowers and chocolates are a popular choice for gifts for these occasions, we are also kept busy here at The Lovespoon Workshop making lovespoons to celebrate these special occasions for couples. Our Cupid’s Arrow lovespoon is often called into action in the hope that it hits its intended target. Once more we see how well the lovespoon can adapt to cater for such a wide variety of tastes and occasions. It really is an all embracing tradition.

Taking the above into account you can see why we regard our nation as one that is full of romance. When you include our traditions of song and beautiful poetry our argument carries considerable weight. Whilst Paris and Venice are locations steeped in romantic history, here in Wales we not only have two days dedicated to lovers, poetry and song, but also our Welsh lovespoon tradition too. We’re blessed with a beautiful coastline and green hills and mountains and as long as it doesn’t start raining on your picnic surely there’s an argument that Wales is truly one of the most romantic places in the world!!? But we do admit that we might be just a little bit biased too.

Cupid's Arrow Lovespoon
Cupid’s Arrow Lovespoon

Link for our Cupid’s Arrow Lovespoon

January 2019- Exciting times ahead at The Lovespoon Workshop.

To start with we would like to wish each and every one of you a Happy and Healthy New Year from us all here at The Lovespoon Workshop. We hope 2019 will be a great year for all. As always the workshop continues to be busy and we are focussed at this time on hand carving lovespoons ready for the busier months ahead.

This time of year things are start to build up towards St Valentines Day and Dydd Santes Dwynwen. Our order book for making bespoke lovespoons are quickly filling up with requests including the Cork Coat of Arms, Boats, Roses, Shamrocks, Maltese Cross, Daffodils and Dragons amongst the lovespoon designs requested. For those who are unfamiliar with Dydd Santes Dwynwen, it is the 25th January and also known as Welsh valentines days. Along with the Welsh lovespoon, it is the reason to argue that Wales is the most romantic nation in the World!! Two valentines days and the Welsh lovespoon, that takes some beating!!

With a reduced number of visitors passing through the workshop doors it gives us a chance to focus on other aspects of the work we do with the Welsh lovespoon tradition. The additional time has been put to good use through the designing and making of several new lovespoon designs. It has also given us an opportunity to add a range of new products both to the online lovespoon shop and in the workshop itself. It’s with great delight that we introduce the brand new The Lovespoon Workshop DVD now available in our online lovespoon shop. Perfect for anyone who has an interest in making their own lovespoon, or seeing how some of our ambitious projects, including The Longest Handcarved Lovespoon in the World and The Lovespoon Book were hand carved from a single solid block of wood here at The Lovespoon Workshop. Much time has been dedicated to an extensive redevelopment of our online lovespoon shop and the work will continue throughout the coming months.

Trio of Spooning Lovespoons
Trio of Spooning Lovespoons

It’s great to be able to introduce new lovespoons including our Trio of Spooning lovespoons and the ever popular and simple little Dwt lovespoon to a digital audience. Other new online products that are all unique to The Lovespoon Workshop include a range of children’s books, lovespoon themed bookmarks and lovespoon themed greetings cards. All available as stand alone unique items or added to a lovespoon order, to provide further insight into the work undertaken here at The Lovespoon Workshop. It is also worth explaining, that with the inclusion of these add-on style lovespoon items, that all orders placed through our online lovespoon shop have a flat rate of postage. Orders posted/shipped within the UK are charged at a flat rate of £1.99 and £3.99 outside the UK, regardless of the number of items and value of the order placed. For example, an order including one lovespoon, a set of bookmarks and a greetings card will cost £1.99 to post in the UK and £3.99 anywhere else in the world. Postage is via Royal Mail and sent First Class Proof of Postage on orders under £50 and Royal Mail Tracked and Signed on orders over £50. It never ceases to amaze how Royal Mail often manage to get items to the USA, Dubai and various parts of Europe within a week to ten days. For anyone looking for other delivery options feel free to contact us via email or telephone to discuss your requirements. Additional order information can be found on our terms and conditions page by following the link below.

The Lovespoon Workshop Online, Terms and Conditions.

This continued development of our online lovespoon shop is due to its continued success. It has been a great delight to be able to share our work here at The Lovespoon Workshop with a digital audience. Through the website and platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube we have been allowed to share the 17th century lovespoon tradition from our small family workshop in West Wales with the big wide world and we are very grateful for the continued support received from all. As always though, as a family here at The Lovespoon Workshop, we stick steadfastly to our principles that all of our lovespoons are hand carved by ourselves on site, ensuring that the lovespoons handcrafted here retain the highest possible degree of authenticity. It is, as always, with great excitement that we hope to continue to develop our presence online throughout 2019 and beyond. Introducing more of what we have to offer in regards to authentic hand carved Welsh lovespoons to a global digital audience. We continue with our big plans from a small family workshop in West Wales!!

Follow the link below to check out what’s new in our online lovespoon shop in time for Dydd Santes Dwynwen and St. Valentines Day.

Online Lovespoon Shop Link.

The Longest Lovespoon Book
The Longest Lovespoon Book

December 2018- Reflections

As we approach the festive season, a time to reflect upon the events of the previous twelve months are upon us. It is easy to say and often over used but this year has been an amazing one here at The Lovespoon Workshop. We have been involved with so many projects, groups and sharing the tradition in so many different ways that it has truly been a note worthy year. It is a year that the theme of our 1993 lovespoon can sum up very well. We find ourselves ‘counting our blessings’.

Throughout 2018 we were fortunate to have a few visits from television companies. One being a returning visitor in the form of ‘Escape to the Country’ which was great to have them back with us, due to air some time next spring we believe. Another in the shape of ‘Coast and Country’ where it was lovely to meet Ruth Wignal and the crew and share our own interpritation of the Welsh lovespoon tradition. The first film crew of the year arrived in the form of Conor Knighton and the crew from ‘CBS News Sunday Mornings’ and it was incredible to experience what the USA has to offer and how quick everyone was to embrace the Welsh lovespoon tradition. It really was an eye opener and we were very grateful for the experience. What an amazing country the USA is. We are extremely grateful to everyone who has come to visit our family workshop and the various film crews have been a pleasure to accommodate and have allowed us to share our work and the lovespoon tradition with a wider audience. A big thank you for coming to visit us.

Our yearly lovespoon is always a focal point for the year and this year was no exception. The theme of ‘Imagine the power of love’ based around the sermon of Reverend Curry at the Royal Wedding has proved challenging and rewarding in equal measures but we are delighted with the progress we are making and hope it will be enjoyed by all. We hope the video showing it’s making will be on our YouTube channel Dai ‘lovespoons’ Thomas soon.

2018 has also seen an upsurge in bespoke lovespoon work, something we were increasingly moving away from but as a result of an upsurge in interest from the USA we have begun to focus in this area once more. A few examples are particularly note worthy, an Ospreys themed lovespoon for Welsh rugby captain Alun Wyn Jones was a lovely project for us to be involved with, combining two very Welsh traditions together, in the form of lovespoons and rugby union. The spring saw us tackling one of our most challenging bespoke lovespoons, spending fifty hours designing and hand carving a unique bespoke lovespoon for Julia based around a dove and dolphin theme. The bespoke projects have been particularly interesting this year, from Claddagh symbols, to Luxembourg Lions, to Owain Glyn Dwr themed lovespoons, to Eagles and Wolves the list went on and on but it was a pleasure to design and hand carve each and every one.

The workshop itself has continued to be a very busy place with numerous groups and individuals taking the time to visit us, allowing us to be able to share the Welsh lovespoon tradition and our work with it. We are ever so grateful to everyone who has supported us, it is much appreciated by us all here at The Lovespoon Workshop.

From us all here at The Lovespoon Workshop we would like to wish you all a happy and healthy Christmas and New Year and we hope that 2019 will be a prosperous one for you all. We would also like to give our thanks to everyone who we have made lovespoons for, it is a great pleasure for us to be able to design and make each and every one.

Follow the links below to check out a few of our latest lovespoons and lovespoon themed products exclusively from The Lovespoon Workshop.

Link for The Lovespoon Workshop, Online Lovespoon Shop.

New to our online lovespoon shop. The Dwt lovespoon

Our Trio of Spooning Lovespoons

The Lovespoon Workshop DVD

Bespoke lovespoon request
Bespoke lovespoon request
Conor Knighton @ The Lovespoon Workshop, 2018.
Conor Knighton @ The Lovespoon Workshop, 2018.

Check out the video of when Conor Knighton came to visit us here @ The Lovespoon Workshop.

November 2018- Imagine, The Power of Love

For those who have previously visited us here at The Lovespoon Workshop you will probably be aware that each and every year since 1969 we have a unique lovespoon to record the events of the year. It is like our own version of a diary. It is far from a complete history, just our own potted history of events both personal and public that have shaped our thoughts and lives during a particular year. 2018 was no exception and indeed it is a milestone in our collection, where once completed we will have one lovespoon for every year for the last fifty years.

At times it would have been a milestone that would have seemed that we were unlikely to reach but through highs and lows, or as we recorded it in 1971 the rough and smooth, we have arrived at a significant personal milestone in our family collection of Welsh lovespoons. This brings us to the common thread throughout the collection, the underlying message that provides the focal point for our latest lovespoon. In all that we have done throughout the last fifty years the core message that is central to our work is love. After all our lives are entwined with a tradition that has love in its name, the Welsh lovespoon.

Our unique family collection of Welsh lovespoons have been based around a wide variety of themes and messages but love is always a common thread. We always seek to put a positive message in our collection of lovespoons. This year the event that captured our attention was the Royal Wedding and more specifically the sermon beautifully delivered by Reverend Curry. Whilst some expressed a view that his message was somewhat long winded, for ourselves it was profound and captivating. He delivered a clear message that if received can only provide a positive reaction. ‘Imagine, the power of love’. It truly is a powerful message, an act of love can do extraordinary things.

Our 2018 lovespoon records events and acts of love during the year that show what is possible through selfless acts of love for each other. People willing to put themselves at risk in order to save or safeguard others. With love the possibilities are endless. The message we received was a powerful one and the ideal basis for a Welsh lovespoon. In all that we do here at The Lovespoon Workshop we try to share a little bit of love. Through the lovespoons we make and the stories they tell love is always a core value and will continue to be central to all we do with the Welsh lovespoon tradition.

If you are interested in seeing our new lovespoon it will be on display here at The Lovespoon Workshop from January 2019. Feel free to pop in and see the entire unique collection of Welsh lovespoons and we are more than happy to explain the stories that inspired them. For directions and opening hours follow the link below. Admission, lovespoon carving demonstrations and explanations are all free of charge. We look forward to meeting you.

Find The Lovespoon Workshop

Handcarved lovespoons here at The Lovespoon Workshop
Handcarved lovespoons here at The Lovespoon Workshop

October 2018- Christmas Plans!!! too soon?

For several years we have been hand making Christmas tree decorations here at The Lovespoon Workshop. It is a similar process to making a Welsh lovespoon. The skills that we have acquired making Welsh lovespoons allow us to adapt and make a variety of other wooden gifts. The process can on occasion seem a little strange because we often start the process of making Christmas tree decorations in summer and early autumn. It really does feel too early to be making Christmas plans. In more recent times it has become apparent that similar decorations to the ones we used to make have become available, therefore for Christmas 2018 we took the decision to adapt the process and make a Christmas tree decoration with a difference.

Adapting is always part of what we do here at The Lovespoon Workshop. We always retain our core values of handcarving everything on site ourselves but designs and styles develop as the years pass. In regards to the Christmas tree decorations we have evolved our designs to give them all more of a lovespoon look. Instead of hand making Christmas tree decorations as we have done for several years, this year we are hand carving Christmas tree lovespoon decorations.

It is an obvious development and a fusion of what we make on a daily basis, with something we normally make at one time of the year. The stimulus for this development came as a result of an increase in similar decorations to our previous designs being made by others. Here at The Lovespoon Workshop we always seek to make something just a little bit different and original from everyone else. The development of a new and exclusive lovespoon themed idea is always an exciting prospect and provides us with motivation to continue the evolution of our own range and the Welsh lovespoon tradition at large.

We hope that our new ideas will be well received and are excited about sharing them with everyone. To add a lovespoon theme to our Christmas tree decorations is something that really appeals to us and we hope it will appeal to you all too. This year at The Lovespoon Workshop our Christmas plans started a little too soon but we hope the end results are worth it.

To see our new range of Christmas tree lovespoon decorations follow the link below and check them out in our online lovespoon shop.

Click here for Online lovespoon Shop

Set of Six Christmas Tree Lovespoon Decorations
Set of Six Christmas Tree Lovespoon Decorations

September 2018- A time to reflect

The Lovespoon Workshop is always a busy place, we have something going on throughout the year. From designing and making our yearly lovespoon, to handcarving unique bespoke lovespoon requests, to replenishing the lovespoons that we make from start to finish on site throughout the year and sharing the Welsh lovespoon tradition with those who take the time to visit us. It can occasionally seem impossible to take a moment to focus on everything we are trying to do with the lovespoon tradition and why.

During August a break in Del Bierzo, Northern Spain provided the perfect opportunity to relax and have a clear picture of how we continue to share the 17th century Welsh lovespoon tradition with everyone who has an interest in it. Del Bierzo is a region of Spain that shares common history with South Wales, due to the fact that both areas have been shaped to varying degrees by coal mining. Coal mining communities are at the heart of both areas and for me personally the similarities are striking. The terrain carries an equally striking comparison with beautiful tree filled mountains and valleys providing the backdrop to this largely unspoilt region. For me, the only significant differences are the weather and the language and having previously visited in Autumn the difference in weather is not too extreme.

The people also display similarities, a togetherness and community built through shared experience both positive and negative. Coal mining being such a dangerous job, it is clear that these communities have grown closer through both celebration and tragedy. It may seem at this stage somewhat unclear what all this has to do with the Welsh lovespoon tradition but for me the experiences, environment and events all contribute to make the people and place what it is. The traditions that exist in Del Bierzo are unique and distinctive to the region. The Pulpada and Bodegas are two examples of customs and traditions that make the region what it was and what it is. Similarly in Wales, our coal mining heritage, our language, our choral traditions and our rugby are all examples of what makes us distinctive as a people and a nation. The Welsh lovespoon is equally strong as an expression of a Welsh identity that is distinctive and unique to and from the Welsh people and nation at large.

Moving forward this gives us a clear direction. The Welsh lovespoon is a prime example of a handcraft that is shaped by the people and place from which it originates. It is also a tradition of individual expression, allowing ideas, messages and skills to be expressed through the tradition. The lovespoon continues to display an ability to evolve and adapt to an ever changing world. For example, the inclusion of Celtic design has given the lovespoon an even stronger Welsh identity, despite it not being a traditional design. For ourselves here at The Lovespoon Workshop our time to reflect has been an opportunity to reaffirm our ideas and approach of sharing the 17th century Welsh lovespoon with the wider world. We feel our approach of continuing to handcarve all of our lovespoons on site here in West Wales is of the utmost importance, keeping the lovespoon as a truly authentic Welsh handcraft. Sharing the tradition with as many people as possible is also essential to allow others to be able to enjoy the Welsh lovespoon as we have been able to. We also recognise that as custodians of the tradition must seek to continue to keep the lovespoon as true to its roots as possible in the hope that many future generations will be allowed to enjoy it in the same way we have been able to. Whilst all traditions need an ability to adapt to an evolving world, here at The Lovespoon Workshop we always seek to keep the tradition as true to its roots as possible. Our time to reflect has reinforced our approach that we will continue to endeavour to keep the Welsh lovespoon a unique and clear expression of the place that it originates from in the hope that we can continue to share our handcraft, heritage and tradition with all who have an interest in it.

Del Bierzo, Espana.
Del Bierzo, Espana.
Handcarving Welsh lovespoons at The Lovespoon Workshop.
Handcarving Welsh lovespoons at The Lovespoon Workshop.

August 2018- A labour of love.

Over the years here at The Lovespoon Workshop we have been involved with countless bespoke lovespoon requests and this year has seen a particularly large number of requests for a wide variety of occasions. Bespoke lovespoons also allow us to cater for a wide variety of tastes and encompass a huge spectrum of styles. The process of designing and making bespoke lovespoons can be both challenging and rewarding for us. It is often a time consuming process for us and we can end up designing and redesigning lovespoons on numerous occasions before we arrive at an end result that is suitable for the desired lovespoon.

The increase in bespoke requests this year was in part as a result of appearances on television. Following on from these appearances numerous requests have been put forward and we have sought to provide a positive response to each and every one. Unfortunately, despite all of our best efforts there will always be the odd one that ‘slips through the net’ but we do seek to try to accommodate everyone who reaches out to us.

Over the years we have seldom taken on requests similar to the lovespoons in our own family collection. This is due to the fact that they require a considerable amount of time to both design and making. Therefore they are expensive to make due to the time involved. Earlier this year however we began working through the process of designing and making a unique lovespoon to record an anniversary. It was the most elaborate request we have had in the last forty three years of being in business. The designing and making of this lovespoon was a lovely project to be involved with and the challenges that the making presented allowed us to express a range of handcarving skills.

Bespoke Lovespoon
Bespoke Lovespoon

This process even required us to seek out a suitable piece of wood. Despite the fact that we have our own on site timber store we do not have a piece of Oak available that is large enough and thick enough to make such a lovespoon. Most of our Oak is recycled from old furniture and therefore too thin to be used in this project.

The designing of this lovespoon was a process that took a considerable amount of time. We even had to call in the assistance of my sister because she has great artistic skill as a result of having been trained in art at both Carmarthen college and university in Cardiff. By using her artistic flair and our practical know how a design was finalised to incorporate all the different symbols in a suitable manner. Much thought is required whilst undertaking such a process. In this example a dove was required as a feature carving but also the inclusion of dolphins. In the design the dove is at the top and the dolphins at the bottom, an obvious choice due to the sky being above the sea but one that if not recognised can result in a rather unusual end result.

Bespoke Lovespoon Request
Bespoke Lovespoon Request

Designing and making all of the separate parts of this lovespoon all provided specific challenges but to bring it all together in an overall design that ‘works’ is the real challenge for us. Over the years we have designed a large number of lovespoons and we always seek to make lovespoons that make sense from a practical and creative perspective. We don’t say we always get it right and that the way we undertake the process of designing and making lovespoons is either the only way or the correct way but we always seek to make a lovespoon that is what the individual is hoping for and that will look beautiful once handcarved in the chosen wood. After all, the making of a lovespoon for us has always been and always will be, a labour of love here at The Lovespoon Workshop.

Bespoke lovespoon request close up
Bespoke lovespoon request close up

July 2018- The Alun Wyn Jones Lovespoon

Being involved in a Welsh tradition is a real privilege for us as a family but to be able to combine that with another of our loves and another of the loves of our nation is just a little bit extra special. With the football World Cup in full swing out in Russia it is clear to see what a passion so many have for sport and especially when it is our own nation involved. Unfortunately, Wales didn’t make it to Russia but we found ourselves involved in the making of a sporting themed lovespoon. Here in Wales our traditional sporting passion is rugby union and this is the sport that is widely regarded as our national sport. Therefore, when we were asked by the Ospreys Supporters Club to make a lovespoon for Welsh Rugby captain Alun Wyn Jones it was an exciting project for us to be involved with. Combining rugby and lovespoons was something that was really up our street!!

Such was our enthusiasm for the project we decided that it would be an ideal lovespoon to film the process of making and share it with the wider world. So if you would like to see how the Alun Wyn Jones lovespoon was made click on the video below to see the how the lovespoon took shape from start to finish.

June 2018- The Lovespoon House

The Lovespoon Workshop was built by Thomas the Woodcarver back in 1973 and it has been a wonderful family home and business for the Thomas family ever since. The Lovespoon Workshop is located in the beautiful hamlet of Cold Inn, a quiet corner of Pembrokeshire boasting beautiful views of the countryside. Thomas the Woodcarver chose this site to make a home and business upon because of these features. It was seen as the ideal base for our family lovespoon attraction because it is in close proximity to the impressive seaside resorts of Tenby and Saundersfoot, just ten and fifteen minutes by car. This placed The Lovespoon Workshop ‘on route’ to so many places of interest, just a short drive to other attractions including the town of Narberth and Carew Castle to name just a few. It is a location that is close enough to the major visitor centres without being in the thick of the action. A short trip away from so many of Pembrokeshire’s and Carmarthenshire’s attractions, whilst being quiet enough to retreat to a little peace and rural tranquillity.

The Lovespoon House
The Lovespoon House

Today, the site that The Lovespoon Workshop is located on has been significantly increased in size and fortunately we have added to what we offer as a family business. One of our most recent additions has been the development of a holiday let next to The Lovespoon Workshop. This allows us to offer visitors the chance to come and stay here on site and share in the highlights that West Wales has to offer. To have a little taste of ‘the good life’ that we have been fortunate enough to enjoy ourselves over the past forty years. Our new holiday let needed a name and we decided on something that is in keeping with the work we have done as a family. When discussions began regarding a suitable house name for our new holiday let it was unanimously decided that the lovespoon would, as it always has, provide a focal point. This resulted in the choice of The Lovespoon House as the name.

The Lovespoon House
The Lovespoon House

The lovespoon House is a self contained, self catering holiday let. It accommodates for families and groups of four and features two bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, dining and living room. A self contained garden is also featured, as pictured above, as well as a garage for storage of bikes etc. available by request. So if you have ever fancied exploring the picturesque coast of Pembrokeshire or the rural charms of Carmarthenshire, you can find a beautiful base for making holiday memories you will remember for years to come and right next door to The Lovespoon Workshop and our unique collection of lovespoons here in West Wales.

The Lovespoon House
The Lovespoon House

Feel free to contact us via email: info@thelovespoonworkshop.com or telephone: 01834 812152 if you are interested in booking or would like to know more about our self catering holiday home, The Lovespoon House.

The Lovespoon House
The Lovespoon House

Click here for The Lovespoon Workshop Homepage

May 2018- Returning to our roots.

When The Lovespoon Workshop was started back in 1975 one of the key concepts was based around the idea of not selling lovespoons. This idea might sound a little strange today and the question, why would you set up a business around a particular theme and then refuse to see it? Well the answer is in two parts, firstly The Lovespoon Workshop is also known as Inwood Craft Carving, the name being based upon the material we work in. In the earlier years of The Lovespoon Workshop much time was dedicated to a variety of carpentry and joinery work as well as making various wooden items including house signs, barometers and dolls houses. The second half of the answer centres around the fact that if somebody wanted a lovespoon from The Lovespoon Workshop in the early years you only had one option, we would assist you but you had to make the lovespoon yourself!!!

The memories of these times are numerous and we often recall various incidents that transpired as a result of this approach of making your own lovespoon. It provided a platform for some to go on to bigger and better things, just providing the confidence boost that you can do it. Others who felt they had little or no practical ability were amazed to discover that with a little guidance they could turn their hand to making something they had designed themselves. A few individuals really stand out and none more so than a gentleman who had little or no sight and yet taught us that through wood the feel of the finish can tell a story in itself. We certainly pay far more attention to how our lovespoons feel today as a result of the lessons he taught us.

This leads us towards where we are today, what changed? Well the answer is the entire world changed. Rules, regulations, health and safety to name just a few things and probably the greatest factor of all, TIME and the general lack of it. In 1994 we finally and reluctantly took the decision to make lovespoons for sale within our workshop here in West Wales. Increasingly we were being asked to make a finished lovespoon to buy. As the making of a lovespoon is indeed a ‘labour of love’ modern life and the demands of time meant that fewer had the spare time to dedicate to the labour intensive process. Our own time was also becoming an issue and we took the decision that making our lovespoons for sale would allow us to cater for the many as opposed to catering for the few as it had previously been.

Today, very little has changed, we continue to handcarve all of our lovespoons here at our workshop in West Wales. We have a range of between one and two hundred different designs that we make on a regular basis and countless bespoke designs that have been created over the years. Whilst little has changed in our practices here at The Lovespoon Workshop over the past twenty years the world has continued to change and at an ever increasing rate and amazingly it has resulted in us returning to this early cornerstone idea for our family workshop.

This cornerstone idea that we started with is to help others make their own lovespoon. Sharing the 17th century Welsh lovespoon tradition with everyone that is interested and encouraging anybody who has a desire to have a go at making a lovespoon to just do it. The modern world has provided us with various social media platforms and using this we can now reach a far wider audience than we ever previously thought was possible. In this case the focus falls upon the YouTube platform. Through video we are now able to provide advise to all that wish to make their own lovespoon. By finding The Lovespoon Workshop and Dai ‘lovespoons’ Thomas on YouTube you can follow our guide to making your own lovespoon, including the woods to use, how to design a lovespoon and the tools to start with. You can also find our top ten tips video to get you started as well as a dedicated guide to sharpening the tools of the trade. All you need to start your journey into making your lovespoons is the will to do it. The ability level, equipment, material etc. is not the greatest issue, having the desire to do it will take you a very long way to succeeding in what you set out to do. So if this has given a little inspiration to get started, head on over to YouTube and check out the entire beginners guide for yourself, hopefully it will be the first steps on a fascinating journey with the Welsh lovespoon tradition for you.

The Lovespoon Workshop on YouTube

April 2018 Catching Up!!

Bespoke surprises

The past few months have proved to be as busy as we can remember here at The Lovespoon Workshop. A brief appearance on CBS news in the USA proved the catalyst to a surge of interest in our family workshop here in West Wales. Over recent years we have put more focus on our range of lovespoons adding numerous new designs to the range in the hope of being able to cater for the widest possible audience and over the coming months we will be adding more of our range to our online lovespoon shop. The extra time and emphasis put on our range of lovespoons has resulted in us reducing the number of bespoke lovespoons we have made but this has now changed once more as a result of the influx of interest in our work.

Following our less than five minutes of fame our website was subject to a large spike in visits. This led to a long list of both general and more specific requests. Including lovespoons with rough and smooth bowls to record the rough and smooth of married life, lovespoons with traditional and modern symbols and even the odd Luxembourg Lion thrown in for good measure!! It has been wonderful for us to be able to play a small role in recording a variety of occasions and celebrations.

The process of designing lovespoons, telling the story of a couples or individuals life is a thought provoking process but one that truly gets to the heart of what The Lovespoon Workshop has always tried to express through our work with the lovespoon. Through the lovespoon stories can be told, personal stories, recording an event and expressing a message. The lovespoon can be a very personal form of expression, all of our lovespoons can be personalised to make them unique to the couple or individual in question but bespoke lovespoons go that little step further…

This is the reason for the addition of a new page on our website that is dedicated to bespoke lovespoons. The inclusion of this page is to allow everyone that visits our website the opportunity to be involved in the process of designing a lovespoon. By providing details of what is desired for a specific lovespoon design a more personal and unique creation can be achieved. So if you have ever fancied being involved in the making of your own lovespoon get over to our New Bespoke Lovespoon page and assist us in making your unique lovespoon idea a reality.

bespoke lovespoons
bespoke lovespoons

March 2018 Happy St. David’s Day – Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus

Wishing all a happy St. David’s Day Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus.

As many will already know the patron saint here in Wales is St. David. Every year we celebrate here in Wales on 1st March. It is an important day for us here at The Lovespoon Workshop and for myself being another Welsh David it is a particularly important day. On a personal level the tiny city of St. David’s here in our county of Pembrokeshire also holds very special memories for other reasons. The cathedral, in particular is a beautiful landmark and one that we advise visitors to experience whilst here in West Wales.

Due to its significance to Wales and the fact that it is such a beautiful place to visit, St. David’s cathedral was the first place chosen to visit with my then future wife, Yolanda. Coming from Barcelona only a few months earlier few opportunities to visit and experience life and locations outside of Tenby, had been presented. When it came to choosing the first place to visit it seemed to be the perfect choice and a photo that was taken to record the event is very special for us both. It records the start of a journey that has delivered much joy and happiness.

Inspiring a new design

To celebrate St. David’s day, traditional Welsh costume and Welsh rugby shirts are often worn. The flags of both Wales with the dragon and the black and yellow flag of St. David are also often on display. Other ways to mark the event include wearing a leek or a daffodil. This is where inspiration for our latest design was taken. A simple daffodil design is the chosen form to celebrate St. David’s day here at The Lovespoon Workshop. Our range has always included a variety of daffodil designs but it was felt that a more simple style would be a welcome addition and suitable to record St. David’s day.

The creative process

Due to the shape of the daffodil developing a new simple design proved challenging, with numerous drawings being discarded. The process of designing can on times be a frustrating one with many hours of fruitless labour often resulting. Ultimately, with patience a successful design usually emerges and the entire process is proved to be a worthwhile one.
Our latest daffodil design is inspired as a celebration of both St. David’s day and the nation of Wales. It is suitable as a design to record a visit to Wales and Pembrokeshire, being appropriate for both individuals and couples. The flower and in this case the daffodil is often used to express the hope that love will blossom.
The golden colour of the daffodil has also seen it used to record events including golden wedding anniversaries and fiftieth birthdays.
It’s hoped that this latest design is a suitable tribute to the day of our patron saint here in Wales and will be welcome addition to our range of lovespoons made here at The Lovespoon Workshop.

Blossoming Heart lovespoon, daffodil close up handcarved at The Lovespoon Workshop.
Blossoming Heart lovespoon, daffodil close up handcarved at The Lovespoon Workshop.
Blossoming Heart Lovespoon handcarved at The Lovespoon Workshop.
Blossoming Heart Lovespoon handcarved at The Lovespoon Workshop.

February 2018 Choices, Choices!! By design or accident.

Choice for all

Here at The Lovespoon Workshop giving the best possible is always a key priority. As a family the best visitor experience is a priority that is often discussed and any improvements are introduced where possible. The lovespoon itself is a key theme that is focussed on during regular discussion. Methods to make our lovespoons, new designs and ideas, places and ways to source wood to make lovespoons and how to display lovespoons are just a few examples of regular topics to explore.

One such conversation resulted in our latest development. Winter at The Lovespoon Workshop is a time to focus upon the making of our lovespoons due to fewer visitors joining us at the workshop. In order to make the process as efficient as possible various methods are utilised to reduce time during this process. One such method used during this winter was to focus on the earlier handcarving phase in one sitting. This particular approach has resulted in an outcome that was not planned but has proved very effective. It has led to the introduction of a new style that we are using to make our lovespoons.

Minimalism and lovespoons

This new style will be introduced this year, under the name of ‘Minimalist’. It is a style that is slightly more contemporary than our ‘traditional’ style. In basic terms the difference between these two styles is the depth of carving and the amount of bevelling that is utilised. The ‘traditional’ style that has been used for many years here at the workshop is quite a deep cut into the wood and all edges are bevelled to create an effective and unique finish. The new ‘minimalist’ style is a slightly different approach, with the depth of carving being reduced and the bevel not being necessary. The lovespoon that is produced is more simplistic in style but equally effective, especially when it is married together with a contemporary style lovespoon design.

Valentines day competition

Our social media Valentines Day competition promoting both our new range of online designs and the introduction of the new carving style gives the opportunity to win the lovespoon that was the inspiration for our new carving style. From the photo that accompanies this article our two styles can be seen side by side. Both are effective in their own right and it is basically down to the individual in regard to the style that is preferred.

As a family a clear divide in opinion was expressed. With support for both the ‘traditional’ and ‘minimalist’ styles being put forward. Ultimately it was agreed that the opportunity to offer others a choice between the two styles was an exciting one. The process of making our lovespoons in two different styles is equally appealing, due to it providing additional variety in our daily work. It is also the starting point for the introduction of more new designs to compliment our new style.

Continuity and change together

For those who appreciate more the ‘traditional’ style there is no need for despair, as the future of this style is equally positive. New designs that are focussed towards our ‘traditional’ style will also be introduced. In all it is a positive development, it is hoped that it will allow us to cater to a wider audience, taking into consideration those who like ‘minimalist’ style and also those who appreciate the opportunity to have a choice. As always it is a development here at The Lovespoon Workshop with the intention of providing a more positive experience for the visitor, both online and in the workshop.

Both the ‘minimalist’and ‘traditional’ styles are available on all of our lovespoons, be it via our online shop, bespoke design or here at The Lovespoon Workshop. As always all of our lovespoons are made from start to finish here at The Lovespoon Workshop.

A minimalist style lovespoon handcarved at The Lovespoon Workshop.
A minimalist style lovespoon handcarved at The Lovespoon Workshop.

January 2018 St Dwynwens Day

Busy times at The Lovespoon Workshop

To begin with we would like to wish all a happy and healthy New Year and we hope that you have all had a lovely Christmas.
For us at The Lovespoon Workshop this time of year can be especially busy. This year in particular has been our most busy Christmas at the workshop. Our annual special lovespoon always puts extra demands on us but this is something that is a yearly challenge. This years lovespoon, that is themed around mountains, is nearing completion and the video showing how it was made should be on our YouTube channel soon. In total over one hundred hours were needed to complete the lovespoon and it certainly placed a significant demand, both in regards to the time and skill required but the final outcome is always worth the effort.

A challenge for us all

The volume of Christmas orders also provided us with a challenge this year. A variety of lovespoons and other items were commissioned, for not only the day itself but for anniversaries and weddings that took place over the holiday time. Thankfully due to working longer hours and extra days all orders were completed ahead of scedule. It certainly gave us a taste of how it must be for Santa and his elves in the run up to Christmas!!

Often at this time of year fewer visitors come to the workshop itself and this provides an opportunity to make extra lovespoons for the year ahead. By making everything from the log to the lovespoon on site here in West Wales, quiet times are an opportunity to focus on making lovespoons for busier times ahead. The process of making lovespoons here at The Lovespoon Workshop is labour intensive, so a quieter time of year can be a blessing in disguise. This year the stock building got off to a slow start for a variety of different reasons but thankfully things have got back up to speed and the number of completed lovespoons is starting to grow.

A quieter time also provides other opportunities. New designs and ideas can be expressed, that at other times of year would have to wait. This year time has been dedicated to new designs and redesigns, that in some cases have been waiting several months and even years to express. Some of these new designs will make up part of another project, that has been waiting for attention. The redevelopment of our online shop is something that has been in doing for the last few months.

St Dwynwen our patron saint of lovers in Wales

In Wales our own version of St. Valentines Day, Dydd Santes Dwynwen is on the 25th January and makes this time of year perfect to introduce new ideas and designs focussing on couples. A running joke here at The Lovespoon Workshop is that Wales is twice as romantic as anywhere else in the world, due to the fact that we have two Valentines days to celebrate and the lovespoon of course!! Whilst it might be joked about, it’s wonderful that this day exists in Wales and sharing it with the world is encouraged by all here at The Lovespoon Workshop.
It’s hoped that the new designs that have been inspired to celebrate both St. Valentines day and Dydd Santes Dwynwen will be well received. As always the process of designing and making these new lovespoons has provided much enjoyment for us and it is hoped that this is reflected in the lovespoons that have been made.

Wishing all a happy Dydd Santes Dwynwen. The Welsh saint that asked God to meet the hopes and dreams of true lovers.

The workbench and display lovespoons at The Lovespoon Workshop.
The workbench and display lovespoons at The Lovespoon Workshop.

December 2017 Wood from Spain

Sourcing wood revisited

A subject that is always a source of great interest for ourselves as a family is the wood we use. We constantly look to source recycled and sustainable timber. Previously we have explored how we recycle from old furniture, fixtures and fittings and various wood that others regard as rubbish. In recent years another opportunity for sourcing unusual timber has emerged. Due to Dai ‘lovespoons’ Thomas’ wife being Spanish woods that grow in Spain can also be sourced. This opens up a whole new and different country of opportunities for making our lovespoons.

Rescuing wood

It is important to stress that whilst we are sourcing from a new country we continue to keep our principles the same. The timber that is sourced is from gardens of friends and families and also timber that is destined to be used on the fire. Although the thought of burning beautiful Olive wood is an idea that we can’t seem to get to grips with. The sources we have found are also sustainable, basically it is where friends and family in Spain have decided to remove trees that are no longer producing fruit and replace them with new ones. Normally they would use this wood to make barbecues and fires but instead they are now storing it for us to use for our lovespoons.

New woods

The woods that we have sourced include Olive wood, Lemon, Cherry and Pomegranate. Another that we have sourced is Yew. Like the Cherry this is available to us in the UK but it comes from an area of central Spain near Aragoncillo and it is from trees that were cut down and left to make a route for power lines.

Bringing us back to our lovespoons we make, it is exciting to have the opportunity to make lovespoons from woods that previously were unavailable to us. It adds another dimension to what we do here at The Lovespoon Workshop.

Different colour woods on lovespoons handcarved at The Lovespoon Workshop
Different colour woods on lovespoons handcarved at The Lovespoon Workshop

November 2017. The Original Lovespoon Workshop Lovespoon

Our lovespoons online

Throughout the autumn we have introduced several new lovespoon designs to our online lovespoon shop. We always seek to keep our selection of lovespoons fresh and regularly add new ideas to our range of designs. We also recognise that some designs are classic and are timeless. The original Lovespoon Workshop lovespoon that was made by Thomas the Woodcarver to use as a marriage proposal is a perfect example. A simple but effective design and suitable to celebrate a wide variety of occasions.

Our original lovespoon

We have used this lovespoon often in our advertising and it remains one of our most important lovespoons. It will always represent the first step in our relationship with the Welsh lovespoon tradition as a family. It also represents the early part in a journey that has lasted nearly fifty years. It is a reflection of what a lovespoon often is, a simple and uncomplicated expression of love. The empty heart represents a hope that it will soon be filled and the years have shown these hopes have been fulfilled.

Other than an empty heart there are no other symbols to explain. The only other aspect to the design is the spoon itself. Often we are confronted with the question ‘why a spoon?’ Our own thoughts on the idea are that spoons are used for mixing and blending. A spoon can be used to bring ingredients together until the end product is greater than the sum of its parts. This can be reflected within relationships. The separate ingredients that make up the two individuals blend together to bring their two separate hearts into one.

Timeless appeal

In recent times we have had several requests to make replicas of our original lovespoon. Highlighting how its simplicity and appeal has remained a constant throughout the years. We have simplified the hand carving work further, due to the original having a raised heart. A process that is rather labour intensive. The simplified process has allowed us to introduce it to our range of designs available here at The Lovespoon Workshop. We have also decided to introduce it to our online range for winter 2017. Under the name The Original due to it being the first ever lovespoon design by Thomas the Woodcarver and available in our online lovespoon shop.

The Original Lovespoon Workshop lovespoon.
The Original Lovespoon Workshop lovespoon.

October 2017. Sharing a little love with the world

A quiet corner in Pembrokeshire

The Lovespoon Workshop is located in a small hamlet in West Wales called Cold Inn, near to the seaside resorts of Tenby and Saundersfoot. Over the past forty years we have been fortunate to welcome visitors from all over the world to our workshop. Today the internet opens up the oportunity to share the Welsh lovespoon with a much wider audience. A recent development for ourselves is to share the lovespoon tradition with an entirely new audience in the form of a Spanish speaking audience.

A wider audience

Just under three years ago we were fortunate enough to have a visit from TV Espana, who were making a television programme that focussed on life for Spanish people living in Wales and we shared the Welsh lovespoon tradition with them. A steady interest from Spain has continued since and it has become increasingly clear that the lovespoon tradition and the process of handcarving Welsh lovespoons translates into diferent languages and cultures.

Sharing the Welsh lovespoon with Spanish speakers in the modern world

Within the last few weeks we have begun work on a sister website called https://lascucharasdelamor.com that aims to provide insight and information to the Spanish speaking world about the Welsh lovespoon tradition. It’s an exciting opportunity to share something unique that we have here in Wales with an audience that has had little previous knowledge of the Welsh lovespoon tradition.

Sharing Welsh lovespoons with the wider world.
Sharing Welsh lovespoons with the wider world.

September 2017. The winds of change and Lovespoons…

The Journey began

When the original Thomas the Woodcarver began his lovespoon journey back in 1969, it was a simple tale of a young carpenter making a lovespoon as a proposal to his then girlfriend and now wife, Jill. It was the start of a journey that has nearly reached fifty years and has seen much change along the way.

The opening of The Lovespoon Workshop in 1975 was one such stage in the journey but this was still a long way from the workshop we have today. Much has remained the same along the journey, many of the hand tools remain the same as those that we began with. The enjoyment of the wood is a delight for us each and everyday. The stories that the lovespoons portray continue to keep our enthusiasm as high as it ever has been. However, changes have come and they seem to be gathering pace!!

New generations

With a new generation involved in the workshop new ideas have also been introduced. Designs have seen a more modern style included alongside the more traditional ones. Our methods of making have remained largely traditional with all of our lovespoons still being handcarved by Thomas the Woodcarver and son on site. Technology is however having an influence on the workshop, not in the form of how we make our lovespoons but in the form we deliver our message to everybody.

Today in our workshop we use modern forms of communication to share our traditional handcarving on a daily basis. Various forms of social media are utilised to share what we are making and how we make our lovespoons with the wider world. Where it was once the case that we could only share our lovespoons with those who actually visited us, we now find ourselves in a position to share our passion for the lovespoon tradition with a much wider audience.

The potential that these new opportunities provide us with are another area that give us much enthusiasm for the future. Whilst we have on occasion been reluctant to fully embrace these changes we increasingly understand the opportunities that they provide us with.

Lovespoons and the future

For us as a family making our lovespoons at The Lovespoon Workshop we see ourselves as the start of another era and via the use of video, photography and social media we can share our work in our workshop in a quiet corner of West Wales with the wider world. We can feel the winds of change upon us but an exciting opportunity to share the lovespoon tradition is here.

Thomas the Woodcarver preparing our 'mountain climb' lovespoon.
Thomas the Woodcarver preparing our ‘mountain climb’ lovespoon.

August 2017. Fifty Years in the Making!!

So how long does it take to make a lovespoon?

A question that we are often asked at The Lovespoon Workshop, is the time it takes 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?

Four hundred years and counting

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.

A lovespoon challenge

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!!

Fifty years in the making
Fifty years in the making!!

July 2017. The Inspiration behind the Lovespoons

A diary in wood

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.

A unique approach

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.

Say it through a lovespoon

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.

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.

Inspired by everything around us

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.

Making lovespoons at The Lovespoon Workshop.
Making lovespoons at The Lovespoon Workshop.

June 2017.There’s more to Wood than Trees

Sourcing Wood

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.

Tell the tale in wood

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.

A waiting game

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.

Timber store at The Lovespoon Workshop.
Timber store at The Lovespoon Workshop.