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Thursday, June 25, 2015
Getting to the Heart of it - Lovespoon Carving Workshops!
for a new challenge this summer? Then why not try your hand at making a decoratively
carved Celtic lovespoon from expert craftswoman Sharon Littley, who will be
leading two workshops during this year's Yn Chruinnaght Inter-Celtic Festival
With their origins firmly rooted in centuries old tradition,
they're recognised worldwide for their romantic associations, and were originally made by young men during long winter
nights or on long sea voyages, so as to express their intentions of courtship towards
a particular girl. Some lucky lasses might receive lovespoons from several suitors,
which they would display on the walls of
The tradition of
carving lovespoons is thought to have been derived from the making of culinary
spoons, with the giving of a spoon symbolic of the expression of the wish to
'feed' or support the object of the prospective suitor’s desire. It would then
be decorated and invested with symbols in essence of the suitor’s hopes and dreams.
surviving lovespoon, held at the
National Museum of Wales at St Fagan's near Cardiff, is said to date from
c.1667, but Welsh lovespoons are known to have been made by the men folk of Wales
throughout the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The custom
lost its popularity towards the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning
of the twentieth century, but a recent revival has championed the lovespoon as
a commemorative gift for any number of special occasions; integrating both
traditional and contemporary design.
Born and raised in
the area of Bridgend in South Wales, Sharon Littley has become a leading expert
in this field. She initially chanced upon wood carving, but has now become
Welsh Regional Leader of the British Woodcarving Association. A growing
reputation led to a number of adult education classes and the establishment of
her own business Heartwood.
"Heartwood epitomised everything I did - the medium I worked in (wood) and
the fact that I put my heart and soul into everything I do; heartwood is also
the centre of the tree = as it's the centre of my life."
In 2002 she
co-authored the book Celtic Carved
Lovespoons - 30 Patterns, published by the Guild of Master Craftsmen, and
has also written for woodcarving magazines in Britain and the USA. Sharon has
also promoted lovespoon carving and Wales itself in the USA, Japan, Ireland,
Holland, Belgium and France.
Now established on
a professional basis, Sharon organises wood carving classes and accepts a
variety of commissions, but with lovespoons very much at the heart of her work.
As part of her
visit to the Island, a selection of Sharon's lovespoons will be displayed in
the window of Celtic Gold in Peel during the weekend 18 - 19 July.
lasts for four hours, with all equipment provided to make your very own
lovespoon, for just £30. No previous experience is necessary, although those
under sixteen must be accompanied by an adult. The workshops are not suitable
for those aged under twelve.
The workshops both
start at noon (18 July at the Corrin Hall in Peel/19 July at the House of
Manannan in Peel) and must be booked in advance.
Tickets for each
event may be purchased from the Yn Chruinnaght Festival Office, The Stable
Building, The University Centre, Old Castletown Road, Douglas, Isle of Man. IM2
1QB, with cheques payable to Yn
The Yn Chruinnaght
Inter-Celtic Festival is supported by Culture Vannin, the Isle of Man Arts
Council and Manx Telecom.