Welsh Lovespoon Gallery, Cardiff
Welsh Lovespoon Gallery, Castle Street
This gallery has been displaying and selling hand-crafted lovespoons since 1970. Many lovespoons sold today as Welsh souvenirs are mass-produced outside Wales, but the lovespoons in this gallery represent the work of craftworkers around Wales who continue a tradition that goes back centuries.
The gallery also displays a giant lovespoon, 6.7 metres long, which was carved by Ed Harrison of Pontsian, Ceredigion, in 1989.
The oldest lovespoon in the collection of the National Museum of Wales dates from 1667. The tradition may be even older. Such delicate wooden objects would have been vulnerable to distortion and cracking over the years and most would eventually have been lost or discarded. You can see images of some of the museum’s spoons here.
Lovespoons were traditionally carved by young men to demonstrate their affection for a young woman. If she accepted the spoon, a relationship might follow. Spoons, used for cooking and eating, were valuable objects in every home before the era of mass-production. Carving a spoon and presenting it to a prospective mate demonstrated the man’s practical abilities and symbolised his willingness to provide food for the family he hoped to nurture.
Visual tokens were usually carved on the handles of lovespoons – ideal for any young man who was too shy to talk to a woman about love. A heart symbolised love and a diamond wealth. A chain represented the carver’s desire for a permanent bond with the recipient.
Postcode: CF10 1BS