A beautifully handcrafted love spoon is a gift that symbolises both strength and love. Wood is a natural and enduring resource, evolved to withstand all kinds of weather, which makes it the perfect material for a love token. Traditional native species are used to make the spoons, such as limewood, sycamore and walnut.
The skill and care that goes into carving the intricate designs is also a labour of love, imbuing it with a special significance that just couldn’t be achieved with a mass-produced article. The earliest surviving example of a Welsh love spoon is displayed at the St Fagan’s National History Museum in Cardiff, and is believed to date from 1667.
They were traditionally gifts given by young men to express their love for a sweetheart, and were also a chance to prove that the suitor was capable of good craftsmanship and able to provide for a family. Nowadays, they are still a popular gift for romantic occasions such as Valentine’s Day, or the Welsh equivalent St Dwynwen’s Day.
These exquisitely detailed Welsh love spoons are of course purely decorative and were not designed to be used for mixing the pudding! The symbols have particular meanings which speak of the feeling or occasion the spoon is intended to celebrate; a wedding, a birth, an anniversary, or simply as a gesture of love and prosperity.
Among the various symbols carved into the handles are angels, which represent protection. At Angel Woodcraft, the angel symbol is imbued with a unique and extra special meaning. The shape of the angel with its wings raised upwards forms two intersecting arcs, which also evokes the symbol of the Ichthys, the Christian fish.
The Ichthys is a sacred symbol that has appeared in ancient Christian art and literature since the 2nd century AD. The design of the love spoon that embodies both fish and angel came about as a happy accident during the creative process, which makes this spoon seem all the more special as a gift for someone that you treasure.