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Old 01-26-2007, 02:45 PM
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Re: Celtic Knots 101 - Spirals

Thanks Bob & Chris! Looking forward to seeing y’all tackle something similar… no pressure, though! Really. None at all…

I’ve reconsidered how I want to do that larger triskele as a carpet page. I decided it would be helpful for y’all if I limited myself to things that have been covered in the tutorials… sorta like a review before the midterm exam. That being the case, La Tene style borders need to come first.

Spirals & borders from the La Tene style can appear *very* random, but they all follow a sense of rhythm & design unique to Celtic culture. Unlike the knotwork, there aren’t hard & fast “rules.” Which can be very freeing and very frustrating all at the same time. The unifying element to all La Tene period decorations is a curved connection between circles. Within that, there’s also an intriguing tendency for the negative spaces to become the dominant elements when you least expect it & then fade back into obscurity.

Just to get our feet wet, let’s do a series of “simple” (hahahahaha) S scrolls. And for speed, I’ve returned to using graph paper. Obviously, you can rule your own on plain paper, but I’ll take any shortcuts I can find right now. If you do decide to rule your own, the important lines would be a horizontal midline shared by *all* of the circles & then a vertical midline that divides each circle into 4. Draw in six 1” circles, with 1/4 between them. When you do the circles, make sure you’ve got some breathing room between them & the edges of your paper (like more than 1/2” or so). These things have a tendency to … expand.

First we’ll connect them in pairs. Draw in a guideline for your S curves from the bottom of the 1st circle to the top of the second. Now we’ll mirror it, so top of the 3rd to bottom of the 4th. And then the same as the 1st pair, bottom of the 5th to top of the 6th. Here’s mine:



The first & second pairs are the repeat unit. I threw the 3rd pair in to help you see how the overall pattern will look. When I did that first pair of spirals connected with an “S”, we did one spiral & then the other, connecting them as a last step. When doing a border, I find it much easier to start with the connections. So that being said, flesh them out so the inside of one circle becomes the outer edge etc. Like this:



On the opposite side of the midline from where you started to flesh out the “S”, draw in a small circle that touches the midpoint of the larger circle and is about 1/4” away from the outer edge of the circle. (if you’re using a template, it would be 1/4” in diameter, but eyeballing it is just fine, too.) And for this demo, assume I want you to repeat the same steps on all of the circles…



Now draw in a half-circle that connects the outside edge of the small circle (not the midpoint of the larger circle) to where the “S” connection is coming in.



Still with me? Doing ok? This time, draw in a half-circle from the midpoint of the small circle to about half-way between the edge of the small circle and where the “S” connection is coming in. It should echo the curve of the last half-circle you drew (unlike my 1st one there… didn’t catch it until I was on the next step. Whoops) and straddle the midpoint of the larger circle.



Draw in a half-circle that connects the little half-circle you just drew to the outside edge of your larger circle. It should be on the opposite side from where the “S” connection comes in.



Before we go any further, let’s clean this up a bit. I’ve erased part of the small inner circle & the small curve that entered it. This creates a point in our S bands & commas in the negative space. I’ve also darkened the parts of the original circles that create the largest part of the S, and erased the guidelines we had originally created for connecting them.



So now what? Well, like usual, I’m gonna encourage you to think of what we just did in terms of repeating & rearranging & fiddling to see what you can come up with. Here’s a few options:

Mirrored



Mirrored & off-centered



Or, use just one of the “S” to repeat & mirror



Or change the orientation of that single “S”, mirror & repeat:



Or… anything else you can dream up! Next up we’ll connect those S’s…
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Old 01-26-2007, 02:50 PM
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Re: Celtic Knots 101 - Spirals

Ok, so let’s go back to what we were working on before I got distracted... It looks pretty good as-is, but can I leave it alone? Nope. There’s a bunch of ways you could connect these together. Feel free to play with them anyway your heart desires! Here’s one way you could do it:

Draw in curves that follow the S from the inside point to the *vertical* midline of the next.



Connect those open ends with a straight line. For the ones on the ends, draw in a straight line that extends about 1/4” beyond the last curve. This is the part where they expand…



Now let’s draw in a curve (again) from the inside point to the inside point of the next, allowing it to flatten out once it’s even with the previous steps. For the corners, let the lines extend so it’s even with the previous step. Wow, this is hard to describe. Which is why I’m so *glad* my scanner is working! This creates a “c” curve and nicely boxes in the space between the original Ss.



So go ahead & box in the ends with straight lines. And let’s draw in lines to connect the curves. You should have some interesting little triangles left.



So from here there’s gobs of ways to add detail, but before we do that, let’s look a little closer at what’s going on. Other than the original Ss (shown in red), we now have 4 distinct & defined areas. You can either emphasize it, like I did here with color, or play it down by treating them the same. If I’m creating a border, I tend to de-emphasize that sort of thing ‘cause playing it up too much could easily draw the eye away from what I’m framing.



So in this step, I’ve added little triangles that echo the lines of all those curves & break up the open spaces some. Which defines some *excellent* spaces to add knotwork… hmmm… Instead of triangles, you could draw in ovals, or circles, or “random” shapes or … like I said, no rules to speak of!



Anyway, this is as far as I’ll take this one. For now. Hope you’re getting some ideas of your own! I’ve got a couple more borders to show… I’m thinking I’ll be able to get those up this weekend. Let me know if you’re needing any help!

Tess
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Old 01-27-2007, 01:01 PM
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Re: Celtic Knots 101 - Spirals

Tess, a lot of your photo's did not come out. If you need any help let me know.
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Old 01-27-2007, 03:07 PM
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Re: Celtic Knots 101 - Spirals

Quote:
Originally Posted by sassybird
Tess, a lot of your photo's did not come out. If you need any help let me know.



Gasp!

Ok, so here's where I quietly freak out a bit... Sending you a pm Charissa.

Tess
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Old 01-28-2007, 09:02 AM
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Re: Celtic Knots 101 - Spirals

Ok, is anyone else having trouble viewing the images I posted? They come through just fine on my computer, hubby's laptop, and a very tolerant friend's (oddball phone conversation: Hi, it's me. Could you look something up on the web for me? Yah, know you're on dial-up still. That's what I want to check... )

Anyway, I've got a couple more borders I want to post, but don't want to do it until I'm sure everyone can see what I'm talking about...

Tess
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Old 01-28-2007, 02:00 PM
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Re: Celtic Knots 101 - Spirals

I dont think I am missing any of the pics. it all looks good on my machine.
Bob
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Old 01-28-2007, 02:15 PM
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Re: Celtic Knots 101 - Spirals

Thanks, Bob!

Tess
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Old 01-28-2007, 06:51 PM
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Re: Celtic Knots 101 - Spirals

Tess - pictures came through great on my old machine - and look great! Helen - soon to freeze in New Bern, North Carolina!!!!!!!!!
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Old 01-29-2007, 08:03 AM
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Re: Celtic Knots 101 - Spirals

Coming through fine for me Tess
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Old 01-29-2007, 08:50 AM
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Re: Celtic Knots 101 - Spirals

Must have been a WC glitch of the moment then...

Thanks for checking, everyone! (including you cp lurkers. you guys are the best!)

So once I've stuck the boy-o on the school bus, I'll get the much-promised new demos up.

Tess
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Old 01-29-2007, 05:09 PM
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Re: Celtic Knots 101 - Spirals

I bet you were wondering when I’d throw something involving threes into the mix… Well, wait no longer.

This type of border is what I think of as a meander. It really strongly reminds me of how water in a stream moves over & around rocks. Not quite as frantic as rapids, but definite paths and currents… This particular one is based on a decoration found on a helmet dated between 400 & 200 b.c. in France. If you go to the UNC site (http://www.unc.edu/celtic/imagesindex.html), search for image #216295. It’s the topmost band you can see clearly in their image.

So to get started, let’s do a row of six 1/2” circles, 1” between them. Now under that row, do another row of six 1/2” circles, centered on the spaces between the upper row.



Now let’s join them up in 3’s, using “s” curves. Draw in a curved line from the bottom of your 1st circle to the top of the next one on the top row. Still on the first circle, draw in another curve from the bottom again to the top of the 1st circle on the lower row. Now connect the bottom of that circle to the top of the 2nd circle on the top row. Skip to the 2nd circle on the bottom row. Connect it (bottom to top) to the next circle on the lower row. Now connect those two to the circle centered between them on the top row (should be the 3rd.) Repeat what you did with the 1st group of three on the next group (connecting two on the top to one on the bottom). And then repeat the 2nd group of three with our final grouping (two on the bottom, one on the top). Here’s mine:



Next step is joining the triangle groupings to each other. Draw in an “s” from the 2nd circle on your top row to the 2nd circle on the bottom row. The curve will come off of the top on the *opposite* side of the triangle points and connect on the *opposite* side on the lower as well.



Now we’ll draw in a long “s” connecting the 3rd circle on the top row to the 4th on the bottom. Once again, it should join up on the *opposite* sides of the circles from the triangle points. This is your repeat unit. Like before, I included the 4th grouping to give you an idea of the overall pattern.



So now join the 3rd grouping to the 4th just like you did the 1st and 2nd. See the pattern? Short curve to long curve to short to long etc. This alone can be really nice in a piece. Shading & texture to give it a little bit of interest, etc. But for this demo, this basic outline will act as “bones” for the overall border, rather like we did with the running borders demo. So here’s mine:



Draw in smaller circles inside of all of your circles. Likewise, draw in triangle shapes that echo the lines of the of your “s” curves.



So now, following the outer contours of the design, draw in a line all the way around the elements. Try to keep your spacing fairly even.



And it could very easily be left here, erasing the original lines, and adding color and/or texture. But lets take it just a couple of steps further. Go ahead and erase the bones of the design so you can see the next part a little more clearly.



After you’ve done a few of these, you’ll probably develop some shortcuts for laying out this kind of design. I’ve got several, and they’re almost instinctive now. Which means I’ve had a devil of time figuring out how to describe what to do when.

Got your erasers handy? Following the outer contours of the original triangles, erase part of the circles.



Draw in lines to connect the inner circles to the outer bands.



I did this next part as a progression, then realized it was too small in the scan to really see what’s happening. So here’s a detail view of the progression. Remember to do all the steps in all of the circles & watch the direction they’re curling. This is the part where I tend to rotate things the wrong way…

A: draw in really tiny circles inside of where the curl is starting to happen
B: half-circles to connect the outside line of the curls to the *opposite* side of the tiny circles. Make sure the half-circles *don’t* touch the inside lines of the curls.
C: Little curves to connect the tiny circles to the inside lines of the curls.
D: Erase the part of the little circles you don’t need anymore & clean-up the bands if you need to. You might also need to slightly enlarge the circles or correct some angles.



So now what? Well, this stands really really well all by itself. And this is where the original artisans left it (although their bands are *much* skinnier). But here’s an idea of how you could take it a bit further:

Box it in & add shapes that follow the contours of the meander/path/bands. A few of those shapes (the rectangle bits) seem a little awkward, & if I was using this in a piece I’d probably divide those into two trianglish shapes… Or work small, single “s” spirals into them. Or… I’ll let you figure it out.



Ok, I’ve got one more border design to show that George Bain claims is out of the Book of Kells.
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Old 01-29-2007, 05:25 PM
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TessDB TessDB is offline
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Re: Celtic Knots 101 - Spirals

So George Bain (in “Celtic Art – the methods of construction”) claims this border design is from the Book of Kells. I’ve poured over all of my books on the subject, & can’t find it anywhere. Granted, he had the benefit of getting to study the Book of Kells in person. So I guess I’ll take his word for it. If you have his book, you can find his version on page 65 (third one down). Now, ‘cause I have a really hard time following directions, I’ve changed it *slightly.* The major difference is I’m putting points in the center & I’m making it rotate clockwise. Ok, maybe the difference is more than slight…

Anyway… lets do six 1 1/2” circles in a row. Divide them into three sections, like we did before for the larger triskeles. If you’re using graph paper, you can pull out your protractor etc. if you really want to. At the size we’re working, I just eyeball it. And on graph paper, a line that crosses from the top corner of one box to the bottom corner of the box next to it is pretty close to right. Make four tic marks on all of your lines at 1/8” intervals (at 1/8, 1/4, 3/8, & 1/2) from your outside edge.



Remember the A, B, & C lines? On the right side of your A line, draw in a half-circle from the midpoint of the circle to the 1st tic mark (the one 1/2” from the outside edge). Like before, repeat each step for all of the lines. And in all of the circles.



So now draw in a curve from that tic mark on the A line to the next available one (3/8” from the edge) on the C line. Then C to B, and B to A.



Repeat until you run out of tic marks, but don’t connect it to the outer circle quite yet.



We’ll do triangle knots in between the circles. Here’s a quickie refresher on how (better walk-thru in the triangles & pretzels tutorial, btw):
1. draw in curves to connect each corner to the next
2. Create your overs. (remember to keep them all running the same way!)
3. lines to define the unders.
4. erase & clean up.



Here’s mine so far:



Go ahead & take the curves of the triskeles all the way to the edges of the circles. And while we’re at it (should have had you do this in the last step) work smaller triangle knots at the ends of the borders.



Got your erasers handy? Erase the points of your triangle knots that easily lead into one of the bands of the triskeles. On your top row, it’s the points that point down & to the right. On the bottom row it’s the one that points left. For the left-hand edge of the border, on the top row it’s the one that points right, and on the bottom row you don’t need to erase anything. On the right hand side of the border, on the top row it’s the one that points down, on the bottom row the one that points left.



Now join the knots to the bands of the triskeles. You may need to adjust the size of your knots here & there. Here’s mine:



Before we finish this up, let’s look at what happens when you add color to this. The knots are acting as “S” curves to connect the triskeles & also acting as a really nice way to tie off the ends of the bands.



So now lets add some interest to the centers of the triskeles… on your A, B, & C lines, draw in little curves from the midpoint to the top of the curve of the bands. The guidelines should make up part of the curves. Here’s a detail ‘cause my description isn’t so great:



And here’s the full thing:



That’s pretty much it. Erase any guidelines you don’t need and call it good!

There’s five bazillion other things I could show, but the idea fairies are flying at me thick & fast at the moment. Need to try to pin some of them down… Anyone know if flypaper works so I can save ‘em for later?

Let me know if anyone needs me to explain something more clearly. And really, I’d love to see how y’all end up using this!

Tess
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Old 01-30-2007, 03:27 PM
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Re: Celtic Knots 101 - Spirals

Just thought I'd let y'all know... It looks like the issue with the images was with Charissa's (sassybird's) computer. Thanks to everyone who checked in!

Tess
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Old 02-04-2007, 06:57 AM
MONISTROL MONISTROL is offline
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Re: Celtic Knots 101 - Spirals

Dear friends i?m just joined to this great site, it's really fine find new people interested in calligraphy and illumination. I've been working last months in the well known spirals of kells specially in their scale and one stroke lines that it's obvious that were not made only free hand. I'd like to show you some examples of them for you to see and hear your opinion.I developed a method that allow you any size, turning left or right and one two three or four coil and one stroke line.I always thought that no one author gave solutions to one of the great problems of the book of kells. I'm sorry for my english, I know that it's not fine. See you
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Old 02-04-2007, 03:22 PM
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Re: Celtic Knots 101 - Spirals

Just visited your web site - the English version would not come up - but went to Spanish and worked fine and your illumination/calligraphy work is absolutely beautiful. Certainly hope you WILL share your method of developing the designs and welcome to WetCanvas! All my best, Helen in North Carolina USA!
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