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Lovespoon Workshop News

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.

Las Traviesas en Del Bierzo, Espana.
Las Traviesas en Del Bierzo, Espana.

 

Handcarving lovespoons at The Lovespoon Workshop.
Handcarving 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 request
Bespoke lovespoon request

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 Online Lovespoon Shop

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.

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