Lovespoons
March 7, 2010 2:16 AM   Subscribe

Lovespoons are a slightly odd Welsh tradition.

Although now basically extinct as a method of wooing (in other words, don't try and seduce a Welsh person through the medium of spoons), it used to be fairly common for young men to carve various symbols on a wooden spoon to give to their cariad as a token of affection. There are a fair few "genuine" lovespoons to be found in various museums around Wales. They're still made as gifts today, with designs ranging from the fairly simple to the hugely ornate.

Of course, there's always got to be one person who takes it slightly too far, as well as one poor bastard who just doesn't get it.

(Bonus lovebench)
posted by Dim Siawns (32 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
It is important, you see, to have a spoon with which to eat the inevitable heaped plate of over-thinking beans that seems inevitable with the beginning of a new relationship.

It's a very practical gift, if you consider that.
posted by Brockles at 2:36 AM on March 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


These are beautiful but not dishwasher safe.

Other practical constraints: this lovespoon requires a closeness that even love shouldn't require.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:41 AM on March 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm picturing Yuri Geller alone in his hotel room when a tryst after a Cardiff show ends badly.
posted by pracowity at 3:05 AM on March 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Their eyes met, igniting a spork of love.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:10 AM on March 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


This is interesting -- thanks for sharing it! Apparently, it's not so odd at all. From this article ("Lovespoons in Perspective"), you can see similar lovespoons from Africa, Romania, and Norway, and the article talks about the tradition in many other countries as well.
posted by Houstonian at 3:37 AM on March 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


it used to be fairly common for young men to carve various symbols on a wooden spoon to give to their cariad as a token of affection

Is cariad the Welsh word for sheep?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:40 AM on March 7, 2010


"Skip the spooning -- let's fork."

Oh, he gets it, all right.
posted by stuck on an island at 3:58 AM on March 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


Mae gen i gacen fach yn fy nhrowsus.
posted by Usher at 4:29 AM on March 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Here love, I've made you a spoon" - doesn't quite have the romantic ring to it
posted by mattoxic at 4:39 AM on March 7, 2010


Houstonian: Cheers much for that article, it's great and I wish I'd seen it beforehand to stick it in the post.

Usher: Pam sy'n cacen yn dy drowsus?
posted by Dim Siawns at 4:43 AM on March 7, 2010


As a matter of fact my ex-partner is Welsh- I was a little surprised as well when I got one but found it rather charming.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 4:44 AM on March 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dim Siawns: Does gen i ddim syniad. My Welsh GCSE was 14 years ago and that sentence was all I could muster. Hopefully the nasal mutation was correct.
posted by Usher at 4:52 AM on March 7, 2010


I can see ours from where I'm sitting.
posted by hawthorne at 5:11 AM on March 7, 2010


Hi Welsh men! I'm in your country, collecting your spoons!

I'm sorry, but when else am I going to get a chance to say that, and have it be sort of true? But truly, this post is really cute and timely and I love it. Thanks.
posted by iamkimiam at 5:18 AM on March 7, 2010


"Although now basically extinct as a method of wooing..."

My "only-thing-I'd-rescue-after-people-and-dogs" item is the tiny silver lovespoon necklace given to me on day 3 of a whirlwhind courtship, followed by a lovespoon ring made of Welsh gold at the proposal a month later.

They're also fairly common (at least in my part of the world) as gifts for friends and family celebrating their fifth (wood) anniversary.

Great post, the world needs more lovespoons!
posted by ceri richard at 6:18 AM on March 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


I have a nice one mounted on a wall in my house. Given to my wife and I by a good friend, a trombonist with The Welsh Guards Band. Tidy.
posted by Nick Verstayne at 6:22 AM on March 7, 2010


My dad grew up in Micronesia, and they have a similar thing on one of the islands there. They're called love sticks. Each boy on the island would have a differently carved stick. When he found a girl he liked, he would push the stick through the thatch of the girl's hut. If she wanted to date him, she pulls the stick in. If not, she pushes the stick out. (It's a delightful metaphor.)

Dad has one of these sticks floating around somewhere. It's pretty cool.
posted by eleyna at 6:41 AM on March 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


My grandfather is Welsh. I never related that to the spoon gifts we all get on our anniversaries.
posted by Malice at 6:59 AM on March 7, 2010


Let the eat cake, Usher?
posted by Shadan7 at 7:28 AM on March 7, 2010


My father made a (fairly simple) lovespoon for my mother when they were courting in the early 1960s. Soft old bugger.

Nice post, Dim Siawns.
posted by ceiriog at 7:39 AM on March 7, 2010


Maybe that last image was a plea to for "fork give and forget?"
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:42 AM on March 7, 2010


...which was the style at the time...
posted by stevil at 7:42 AM on March 7, 2010


there's a Badfinger song about love spoons.
posted by TrialByMedia at 8:07 AM on March 7, 2010


Cariad has too many vowels, Welshwise.
posted by maggieb at 8:52 AM on March 7, 2010


My mum's still got the one I made for her in woodwork class as a lad.
posted by Abiezer at 11:07 AM on March 7, 2010


My grandfather is Welsh, so a thoughtful friend gave me a lovespoon as a souvenir once. I quite like it as a gift, especially the customizable symbols element.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 11:22 AM on March 7, 2010


Ooh, I'm currently taking a course in Welsh lovespoon carving (which I hadn't even heard of prior). The actual act of carving is engrossing once you get started, and there's something very satisfying about watching the little flakes of wood peel away. Fun, but I'm sure glad I don't have to try to woo anyone with my sad, lopsided utensil.*

A nice gallery here.

*that was not meant as a euphemism, I swear
posted by bethnull at 1:42 PM on March 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


(in other words, don't try and seduce a Welsh person through the medium of spoons)

Oh.

/hides spoon furtively.
posted by Pallas Athena at 5:48 PM on March 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


I just came home from a Celtic festival to find this post. Now I wish I'd gone looking to see if any of the wood carvers in the dealers' booths had any of these.
posted by immlass at 8:48 PM on March 7, 2010


My dad made one of these for my mum. Rather than being "odd" I would call it very sweet. Much more meaningful and heartfelt than a piece of rock on a finger.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:19 AM on March 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ok, so I landed in Cardiff today! Settled in and went for a stroll and...I kid you not, I literally walked right into the Welsh Lovespoon Gallery, currently hosting the world's largest (and the smallest) lovespoon!

Can't thank you enough for this post, Dim Siawns. You've helped make this trip come full circle for me. Bringing it back to MetaFilter, and putting some meta in my Wales!
posted by iamkimiam at 10:02 AM on March 8, 2010


Awww shucks, man! So, last day in London, my hostel flooded, all my stuff was soaked. And in the mad shuffle, my backpack went 'missing'. With my Welsh Lovespoons in it! I had bought several small ones to give to friends 'n such, as well as a larger, more intricate one for myself. It had carved feathers and a keyhole in it and was (ironically) themed around 'security'. Apparently, self love of spoon giving is a cosmic ripple in the force. Unless my backpack mysteriously turns up again. Or maybe I'm just supposed to go back and BUY MOAR.
posted by iamkimiam at 7:54 AM on March 16, 2010


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