View Full Version : Question on celtic cross

06-22-2006, 04:34 PM
DOes anyone have a good way to draw a celtic cross? My neighbor would like me to do one, and I really don't know how. THus, I told him I would ask the experts.

06-23-2006, 08:09 AM
Hi, Midge--

If you're wanting to do a simple cross made from knotwork, any of the border designs can be adapted really easily. Here's a couple of examples of how you could do it:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-Jun-2006/46497-TwistC1.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-Jun-2006/46497-1BandC.jpg

Both of these are one band. This one is 2 bands:


If you want to do something a bit more detailed, just remember the rules for joining & breaking knots. And if you're trying to make it one band, remember symmetry is *Not* always your friend.

If you're wanting to do a more complicated design (such as the haloed cross usually associated with celtic knotwork), let me know & I'll throw together some examples on how to work in a circle.

Post or pm me if you need more help!

06-23-2006, 08:43 AM
Midge, the Celtic cross is often called the "wheel cross" because of the ring representing the sun behind it. I created a knotwork cross in a project here in WC using techniques I got in the tutorials by TessDB. If you go to the search engine google and type in Celtic Cross, you get many examples of the cross from Tombs, Churches, Jewelrey, and Artwork.

How does your friend want it drawn? In a representation of a stone cross, or as a knotwork project like in the "Book of Kells"?

Here is the link to my project as one example:

Have Fun,
- Chris

06-23-2006, 03:07 PM
I showed him your cross and he said that he wants a regular cross. (I asked what that was - he replied a Christian cross, not a greek one). I have never heard of a "Christian cross", have you? I personally like the Celtic wheel cross you showed. I think I will try to see what Tess comes up with. I emailed her and she is going to do a lesson on one. Thanks for your prompt response. I appreciate it.

06-23-2006, 05:31 PM
Midge, When your friend says a christian cross, he is looking for a cross with no embellishments. Some greek crosses have lines radiating from the angles of the cross (kind of like rays of light ... also very pretty). I am partial to the wheel cross, but people's taste in religious symbols can be very personal. Some are uncomfortable with the wheel cross because it contains pagan symbolism (some state there are examples of this cross htat predate christianity). Tess has some great ideas! Good luck.
- Chris

06-23-2006, 07:03 PM
Thank you Chris.

06-27-2006, 11:57 PM
Here is what I came up with while I waited for you Tess. I hope it can be called Celtic.


06-28-2006, 08:08 AM
Here is what I came up with while I waited for you Tess. I hope it can be called Celtic.

Of course it can! And it looks like what your friend wanted. My only suggestion is to tighten up where the bands wobble in the center.

Did you want it to be three bands? It works well like that, a nice echo of the symbolism of the Trinity. But if not, here's a way to do it where it *is* one:


It looks good, Midge. Post the final product?

Merry Scribe
06-28-2006, 12:43 PM
Tess isn't a Celtic Cross suppose to look like this.


or something like this;


06-29-2006, 07:31 AM
Traditionally, yes. It's also called a wheeled cross, the sun cross, and a haloed cross. I've loaned out my book on Celtic Crosses, and my memory isn't spitting out the traditional symbolism/meanings/info about them. Too little coffee... :rolleyes:

Anyway. Here's the thing-- I'm all for tradition, respecting and honoring the comfortable & worn paths of this type of art. The other side of that respect/honor is recognizing that to keep it alive it must evolve and grow, too. The traditional Celtic Cross was adapted and evolved from much earlier symbolism, thought to represent an ancient worship system that honored the seasons. (here's the part where I stop myself from launching into a lengthy lecture about agrarian/pagan/ancient worship :D Warning: Do *not* get me started on Stonehenge!)

In this case, Midge is doing a project for a friend. Something about the knotwork spoke to him, & he wanted it combined with another symbol that speaks to him, a Christian cross. The traditional Celtic Cross was too far from his frame of reference. So here we are, with a simple cross adorned with knotwork. Is it still Celtic? I'd say yes. Adapting the knotwork to decorate a simple cross is *very* much in the tradtion of Celtic Christianity.

Oy, ask a simple question, wind me up, & watch me go. :rolleyes: I hope I answered it in there somewhere, Brian.


06-29-2006, 01:33 PM
Tess, now that he has his cross, a neighbor on the other side of me wants a Catholic cross. I showed her the cross with the wheel and she would like that one. But she wants lots of "stuff" on the round part.

Thus, if you can find a pattern for "round" celtic knots I would really appreciate it.

FYI, I put the cross for Ed on leather yesterday and tooled it. I just did a practice piece so he could see how it looks. If you would like to see it I will scan it and send it to you.

06-30-2006, 08:59 AM

I'm not sure I'm clear on what you're neighbor is wanting. Is she thinking spirals or knots bent in a circle? Either way, I don't have anything laying around at the moment. I *will* get a tutorial thrown together about working knots around a circle, but you (and she) will need to be patient with me. I've got 5 different drawings in different stages of "yech that looks awful" :cool: on my drawing table at the moment. I need to get some of that cleared away before I can start anything else.

If you don't have it yet, I really recommend picking up George Bain's "Celtic Art-- The Methods of Construction" (isbn: 0486229238) It should give you lots of good ideas of what you can do with a cross for her. If you've got questions about it, post or pm me and I'll talk you through it if I can.

If she's thinking spirals, try to get a copy of Aidan Meehan's "Celtic Design-- Spiral Patterns" (isbn: 0500277052). I find his examples are easier to follow than Bain's. Although his written directions can be a bit tough. Once again, if you get stumped I'll try to talk you through it, too.

And I do plan a tutorial on spirals eventually, too.

06-30-2006, 11:42 AM
Thank you Tess. I'll see if I can get the books and I will be patient. Now she is a different matter (lol). But I can hold her off. I am working on a painting of a piano right now, so that should keep me busy for awhile. You are wonderful to have responded so faithfully to me. Thanks for your input.