Symmetry has often been important in traditional crafts. The tradition of making love spoons was strong in Wales in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Young men showed their love and skill by carving a spoon out of a single piece of wood and giving it to the person they wanted to marry. Motifs on them were like a code. The comma shapes were your soul, keyholes meant having a home together, wheels meant responsibility and of course hearts meant true love.
The spoons often had the same motifs repeated on either side, so there was a line of reflectional symmetry from top to bottom. If you put a mirror down the middle, they would look just the same.
Motifs like wheels, stars and hearts were reflectionally symmetrical in themselves. Some symbols had rotational symmetry, which means that if you turn them round they look the same - for example the spiral of comma shapes.
Work out the lines of symmetry in these spoon and their motifs. You can see lots more at Amgueddfa Cymru collections on line if you search ‘lovespoon’.
You will need pens or pencils and paper
- Draw your own love spoon.
- Include at least three different motifs in a symmetrical layout
- Invent a symmetrical motif that means something to you
Possible to visit:
- Many local museums have lovespoons on display.