Jenkins Lovespoons are all original designs, completely carved by Laura Jenkins Gorun, using simple hand tools and centuries-old techniques. With a BFA from Capital University, followed by nearly 20 years in the financial services and technology industry, Laura finally returned to the arts after learning of the lovespoon tradition back in 2006. Captivated by the lovely tradition, she taught herself to carve, and left the bank to devote more time to her family, carving lovespoons, and learning more about her Welsh heritage. Before long, she began offering her lovespoons for sale, and quickly became widely recognized for her uniquely delicate, refined style.
Following centuries of Welsh Lovespoon tradition, Jenkins Lovespoons are entirely designed and hand-carved by Laura Jenkins Gorun in her private studio near Columbus, Ohio, and are only available from her, directly. Laura offers her work for sale at select Welsh or Celtic festivals, and she is currently a member artist displaying work at Studios on High Galleryin Columbus, Ohio’s Short North Arts district. Laura’s primary goal in carving lovespoons is to promote and preserve this lovely tradition, and to inspire more people to carve them, and celebrate their heritage.
Enduring since at least the 17th century, the Welsh lovespoon tradition is believed to have originated as a courtship gift. A young man of the Welsh peasant class (e.g. a farmer, or sailor) would spend his hours – days – weeks – pouring as much creativity, effort and skill as he could muster into carving one of these decorative spoons, to declare his intentions to the girl who’d captured his heart. With its romantic symbols (common or obscure, but always personally meaningful) carved into the handle of the spoon, the more care, creativity and difficulty the carver demonstrated, the deeper the feelings it conveyed. If she returned his feelings, it’s said she might carry the spoon, tied in her apron strings, as a sign that she was “taken.,” until it eventually found a home hanging on the wall by the hearth.
Lovespoons are so effective in their purpose, they are given today for any special occasion, but the tradition remains otherwise unchanged; a Welsh lovespoon is always carved from a single piece of wood, demonstrating skill and effort, and most importantly, it conveys a personal, heartfelt sentiment.
A key philosophy for Jenkins Lovespoons is that no particular symbolism, style, or even technique is inherently “traditional,” in terms of lovespoons. Instead, the thoughtful and careful use of creativity and skill in a lovespoon’s creation is what makes it traditional. Laura hopes her unique style contributes to the lovespoon tradition, and inspires others to carve lovespoons, and other lovespoon carvers to explore new challenges.
Please note – Jenkins Lovespoons are all original designs, so, as with any original artwork, they are not to be reproduced without permission. I’m happy to inspire other carvers, but please respect the tradition, and international copyright law – please don’t use my designs, parts thereof, variations of them without express, written permission. Thank you for your understanding