Dragon spoon

This was a gift for my daughter’s art teacher as he is moving on at the end of this term. I call it keeper of the pearl; if you look really close you might spot the ‘pearl’. There’s a tiny ball that is completely free moving carved inside the dragon’s mouth. I was really pleased with this one; only about 12″ long, it was quite a challenging carve, especially the head, where the eyes are only 3mm long and 2mm high, but it came together very nicely.

 

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wedding spoon

This was my most recent commission, a wedding gift for the groom from his bride. The photo doesn’t do it justice at all. The biggest challenge was the water-lily as I’d never carved one before but it all turned out very nicely.  The mahogany threw up a few challenges as it can be prone to splitting. The ship’s wheel is fore-shortened in the photo as it is carved on an angle. The top half of the spoon is actually the same length as the heart/stem/bowl. The underside of the flower is fully carved also, with the tendrils forming a never-ending knot and holding onto the horse-shoe that forms the top of the heart-lock

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lovespoon

This little distraction occupied much of my spare time from the end of November to late January, and now it has been delivered I can post about it.  The lovespoon was completely hand-carved, using a coping-saw to rough it out, then whittled with a knife and a very small shallow gouge; a tiny spoon-bent gouge was used to cut through the links(the heart is completely free to move around but the intertwining knot-work stops it from falling out). The only other tool used was a medium spoon-bent gouge for the bowl.  I hate sanding and put it off until there is no alternative  – the tool marks were smoothed down by scraping with the knife-edge held vertically – any remaining marks were smoothed off with a 400-grit abrasive mesh. Ironically, the wood was almost too smooth and the paraffin-wax finish needed warming up gently to make it more sticky as it just slipped off the wood in some places.

 

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Another One of my Favourites

 

OK, its a bit morbid, but I do like wandering around graveyards – we used to play find the oldest grave when my parents dragged me round various Cathedra and ancient churches when I was much younger than I am now – and this is my favourite memorial, particularly for the sad history that goes with it.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Morgans of Tredegar House were among the richest and most influential families in the country. Courtenay Morgan, Lord Tredegar, had two children, Evan and Gwyneth, who were very close.  Evan was a fascinating character, a real party animal, skilled artist, occult practitioner, Papal advisor and gifted animal trainer.  Gwyneth was a beautiful socialite and something of a Bohemian who fell into bad company.  At the age of 29,  Gwyneth died under mysterious circumstances, possibly of a drug overdose. Her body was pulled from the Thames and some say her pockets had been filled with stones to weight her down.  Such a terrible disgrace was felt by her father that he refused to bring her body home for interment in the family grave.  On Courtenay’s death, Evan was finally able to bring his beloved sister home and he raised this gravestone to her memory; it’s very Evan in feel, I think, and very beautiful, but, I always wonder why he buried her in her own plot instead of in the family grave.

 

 

lovespoon

Whew, now that the series of posts on the HW rifle-stock is concluded I can show a little of the other work that has been underway.

image60th Anniversary celebration lovespoon with elements significant to the couple- dragon, celtic knotwork, lily of the valley, heart, book, and ball-in-cage.

meanings – dragon – strength and protection, regimental badge (he was a soldier)

celtic knot – eternity/love without end

lily of the valley – her wedding flowers/ flowers also mean affection, also though the photo does not show it, there are two stems for two children and the flowers each represent a grandchild

heart -love

book – she was a teacher

ball-in-cage – love held safe

spoon bowl – to love and look after ( the tradition is believed to refer to the wife as the one who feeds the family)

This lovespoon has been a very enjoyable challenge, and as I like to do, incorporates some elements that push me just a little. In this case, the Lily of the Valley (the bell-shaped flowers between the heart and the disc) was a tricky little carving since I have a bit of a thing about rotary power tools – I hate them, and will not use them, in fact I don’t actually own one – when mine packed up I couldn’t be bothered to replace it. It can be tempting to use the power tool as a short-cut which in fact it adds time and effort, the rotary power tool has a specific job to do but even I will acknowledge that for engraving and drilling they really do excel. However, as soon as you move up in scale from etching and engraving, I believe chisels/gouges/knives to be superior in almost every way but for this job I am not sure whether rotary power might have been the better choice. Still, carving such fine work with gouges, drills and coping saw was a lot of fun.