Celtic Knots

Me giving Celtic knots a try was a perfect storm with several contributing factors…

  • I had been thinking I should work on calligraphy, so I flipped through a how-to book and read the last section on illuminating letters. I thought I should really give it a try – how neat! Knots are a major player when it comes to illuminating letters. As an example, this is from the Book of Kells (an illuminated manuscript in Latin – the four Gospels – circa 800):
  • I already did one Celtic knot detail on the P of Peebles on my current embroidery project. (Still working on that, if you’re wondering. I’m on the final e!)
  • I recently read three books by Stephen Lawhead – the first two in “The Song of Albion” trilogy, and the first book in “The Celtic Crusades” triology. All of them have heavy Celtic influences. I’ve read Scottish and Irish stories (fable style short stories) that give insight into Celtic mythology, and I find Lawhead’s books a much more enjoyable way to learn a little about that culture.

On to my first go at Celtic knotwork… I didn’t have any plain white paper, so you’ll have to ignore the blue lines.

The one in the bottom right corner is in-progress (so you can see the steps). Here’s the finished product (I think it’s my favorite):I didn’t use a ruler or compass, but I did make dots to keep reasonable spacing. I got the designs from a website. It was fun! Making the knots added necessary mental stimulation to the episode of Quantum Leap we were watching at the time (as well as giving my obsessive-compulsive desires a peaceful outlet). I’m sure this will work its way into a gift or art for my home eventually.

Interesting side note: As I was reading up on the history of Celtic knotwork, I found that the Christians (monks) who came to the region adopted and continued / furthered the use of the native art (knotwork) by illuminating the manuscripts they copied. Joe and I have talked a lot about Christianity interfacing with culture – specifically the artistic part of culture. It seems like this is an example of art being enhanced (instead of ignored or squelched) by Christians, which makes me curious all the more!


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