At least as far back as the 17th century in Wales, folklore tells us that Lovespoons have been carved from a single piece of wood, using decorative designs and romantic symbolism to convey a personal, heartfelt message. It seems to be widely accepted that they were originally given to begin a courtship. A young man of the working classes would carve one of these spoons and present it to the girl who had stolen his heart. The more effort or complexity put into the carving, the more care it conveyed. If she accepted the spoon, it meant she returned his feelings, and their courtship would begin. I've heard that the girls might have carried around the spoons, tied into their apron strings, showing that they were "taken," somewhat akin to the modern engagement ring.
Today, Lovespoon symbols and their interpretations have expanded, as have the occasions for which they are commonly given. They are now given for weddings, anniversaries, christenings, housewarmings, or any special occasion that warrants a heartfelt gift. Also, while it's not as important today to have the skills required to make a lovespoon yourself, I'd wager that your loved one would still appreciate one you've made yourself the most, and I'd certainly encourage you to give it a try! Otherwise, the tradition remains basically unchanged: it is still a decorative spoon, always hand-carved from a single piece of wood, using personally relevant symbolism to convey a personal, heart-felt message. It's such a lovely tradition, don't you think?!
Lovespoons appear to have been a tradition in many cultures, on almost every continent, but the Welsh tradition seems distinctly recognizable, and probably the most well-known.
If you're interested in more history about the Welsh Lovespoon, here's a link to an excellent article, which includes still more links to other excellent websites and articles:"Lovespoons in Perspective" by Herbert E. Roese
And if you'd like to know more about the tradition, AND more about how to carve Lovespoons, I'd highly recommend David Western's excellent book: "The Fine Art of Carving Lovespoons,"
I design all of my lovespoons, and hand-carve them from a variety of woods, putting love and care into the creation of each one. I do my very best to perpetuate and honor this lovely Tradition. I sincerely hope that my efforts are a lasting contribution to the tradition and art of the Welsh Lovespoon.
It occurs to me that I've been writing some of this in the first person, yet I may not have explained who "I" am. If you'd still like to know a little more about me and specifically my approach to creating Jenkins Lovespoons, please take a look at the About Jenkins Lovespoons page. Or, if the question nagging you is something more like, "What is Blake's Practical Applications, and what does it have to do with anything???" then you'll probably want to have a quick look over at the About Blake's PA page.
And now, a little more about Welsh Lovespoons, in general...
While these are certainly some of the more common symbols, most important to the tradition is that whatever symbols are used, they convey the intended message from the giver to the recipient. In reality, the more unique and personal the symbolism, the better. The possibilities are endless!