Thursday, March 17, 2016

The History of Welsh Love Spoons

Little Devil and I love to visit estate sales.  We aren't searching for anything in particular.  Just interesting things that catch our eye.  Sometimes we don't buy a thing, but it's sure fun to see what other people collect or to admire the architecture of the home.  Sometimes we drool over sterling silver punch bowls.  Sometimes we try on fur coats or shoes from Harrod's of London.  And sometimes we find the most unusual little things we can't live without.  My most recent find was a wooden Welsh Love Spoon, along with matching linen and history book.  I've never heard of Welsh Love Spoons, but I do have some framed English linens that belonged to my great aunt hanging in my dining room, so I invested a dollar to learn more about the tradition.  While the custom of giving wooden spoons as gifts is traditionally Welsh, it does date back to Celtic times and the Irish also consider the spoons as a token of affection or good luck, so I thought it would make a great St. Patrick's Day post.  Not many love spoons have survived past the 17th century, but St. Fagan's Castle in Cardiff, Wales is home to a spoon dated 1667.  There is evidence that suggests that love spoons were part of a prelude to courtship, and were offered to a young lady by a suitor.  Love spoons developed from the practice of using a particular utensil to eat.  A spoon suggests one can help himself, while a love spoon indicates a desire to help one's lover.  Eventually the spoons were no longer used to eat, and were hung on the wall to be admired.  The types of wood, and designs vary by craftsman.  Unfortunately as with many ancient crafts, the number of artists has dwindled and the spoons are typically only found as souvenirs from a visit to Wales.  Each spoon's designs have a particular importance.  Keys or keyholes indicate, "My house is yours."  One heart meant, "My heart is yours."  Chain links indicate the number of children a suitor desired.  While many of the symbols have an obvious meaning, some spoons contained meaning only between the suitor and his betrothed.  Like a one-of-a-kind, hand carved Valentine.  Why did a lover choose a spoon to symbolize his feelings?  We may never know, but the likely reason is wood was plentiful, and a spoon form is simple to carve.  The long handle provided a canvas for ornamentation.  Whatever the original intent, I'm glad the tradition has survived.  The spoons are beautiful, and meaningful.  And we all deserve a gesture of love and luck! 
Isn't this neat?
I just love the linen.
It describes what each carving
on the spoon symbolizes
A very interesting tradition...
I can't imagine Mr. Devilish Dish carving
a token of affection for me...Although
he did get me a new phone today
so I can't complain :)
Keys and Keyholes
"My house is yours."
Here's my spoon.  Isn't it intricate?
Can you believe I got this neat piece of history for $1?
It's almost as good as the time I found a pair of
vintage Christian Dior sunglasses for $6.
Estate Sales are the best!
Here's my St. Patrick's Day treat for you...
A FREE PRINTABLE!  A blessing from
my kitchen to yours.

Click on the image to enlarge.
Right click and save to your computer.
Open with the software of your choice
and print onto cardstock. 
These images are my exclusive artwork.
Please be courteous when using these printables
and remember they are for personal use only.

I hope you enjoyed learning the tradition of Welsh Love Spoons with me...

Happy St. Patrick's Day,

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