In 2010 I passed my midwifery degree, and this was in huge part due to one woman: my Mam. How can I thank her? I thought. A card? Flowers? Perfume? All these things seemed way too boring, too cliché and easy, and that’s when the idea dropped in my head: I’d carve her a traditional Welsh Lovespoon. One problem, I had no experience, no tools and no wood - not a great start! And yet, the very idea of creating something with my own hands, putting all the love I had for her into a bespoke piece of art, captured my imagination so much that I knew I had to do it.
"A BESPOKE PIECE OF ART."
So, finding a Stanley knife, and taking a slat of pine wood from my bed (don’t think anyone knew that... sorry Mam!), I started carving. It’d be easy to say that I had no idea that simple, provincial act would lead me on such a fun, frustrating, rewarding, painful (many cuts!) and fulfilling journey… but, in truth, I knew from the very moment I rubbed in the final coat of bees wax and admired the rough, basic spoon I'd created, that an adventure awaited. I was hooked.
I KNEW FROM THE VERY MOMENT...
...I rubbed in the final coat of bees wax and admired the rough, basic spoon that I had created, that an adventure awaited. I was hooked.
Fast forward nine years, I am now a mother of two and have just quit my job as a midwife to focus on raising my beautiful boys… and to develop my woodcraft. You could say I’m a jobless hobo, using my carving skills to pay my way - sounds way better than ‘housewife’.
Finding time to develop and hone my carving skills in the last nine years was a challenge, but I invested as much of my spare time as I could. I’d say I’m at a place now where I feel comfortable to push the boundaries and explore new grounds, whilst honouring tradition and respecting the fundamentals. A bit like my carving process, I have adapted and grown. Some days I cwtch up on the sofa with a cuppa nestled under my chin and a pencil and piece of paper on my lap. Other days, I have a can of IPA at my elbow and use my HP Spectre and digital pen.
With each spoon I design and carve, I aim to create a unique result that encapsulates the buyer’s heart, their soul. They’re like a life story, a timeline… but spoon shaped! The Lovespoon can represent so many emotions, experiences, milestones and desires; I love that I get to represent someone’s life with each stroke of my carving knife (rhyme unintentional).
And that’s a snapshot of my journey so far. My spoons have found homes all around the world; New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, Canada to name a few. And my hope is to preserve and introduce our wonderful Welsh tradition to as many nations as possible.
Thanks for taking the time to have a peek at my journey so far.