Welsh crafts have always been at the heart of Welsh life and have derived from all corners of the country. From potters to artists, carvers to weavers, there has always been a strong tradition in Wales for making quality products by hand.
If you’re visiting Christmas Markets in Wales this year, you’ll undoubtedly see a plethora of handmade gifts and crafts, but we have a look at some that are undoubtedly Welsh in origin, from intricately hand-carved love spoons, thick and warm tapestry blankets, and contemporary pottery.
Welsh quilt craft
Wales is well known for its wool production and is associated with the tradition of Welsh quietly making, which was developed in the 17th century. These early quilts were primarily functional rather than decorative and were typically made from wool. A woollen blanket would be encased by woollen fabric or worsted material. This made the Welsh quilts very thick and heavy.
These become more decorative in the 18th century, and by the middle of the 19th century had developed into a cottage industry. Traditionally, women in the local district would congregate at a bride-to-be’s home and set about stitching a quilt. The woman that finished her section design first would be the first to be married.
Welsh pottery craft
There is a long history of pottery in Wales, from the slipware produced by Buckley, and the popular copper lustre pottery of Aberthaw, quality ceramics could be found decorating Welsh dressers throughout the country.
Contemporary Welsh pottery is on the rise with a number of rural-based potters setting up studios. The national museum in Cardiff has an excellent exhibition of ceramics both old and new, often inspired by the Welsh landscape.
Welsh love spoons
Welsh love spoons have become a lasting Welsh craft, and have developed over the centuries to be crafted as a sign of affection, carved by workers to present to potential female suitors. The more intricate the carving, the deeper their love for the lady in question.
Post-industrial revolution, there has been a decline in craftsmanship, but people are once again keen to appreciate the skill and traditions involved in such crafts, bringing a resurgence in interest, as people eschew mass-produced goods for handmade and unique gifts.
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