I have some advanced Celtic Knot students coming by tomorrow. We will be exploring ways to jazz up our knots. One technique we will be playing with is to split the cords and create new knots within the knots. There is no limit to how much fun this can be!
Many of the articles about Zentangle are written by CZT’s, and lean toward the artistic expression aspects of Zentangle. My love of Zentangle tends to focus on its possibilities for creating beautiful art, especially for students who don’t think of themselves as artists. But this can create anxiety, as you can think too hard about producing.
Zentangle is as much about focus and relaxation as it is about art
This article was published in Psychology Today, written by an Art Therapist. She does a great job capturing the essence of what it is about Zentangle that creates that state of calm and focus.
Being the results oriented person that I am, I need to be reminded again and again, of what Zentangle is. This quote from the article really brings it home for me.
. I like to think of tangling as a form of “creative aimlessness.” Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh observes that we need to cultivate aimlessness in life rather than continually striving to be “number one.” For example, when we practice walking meditation, we are not trying to arrive anywhere in particular; in fact, if we stay focused on the future, we lose the joy of our steps in the here and now. The same is true of the process of tangling. If we get caught up in judgment and deliberation, we are not in the here and now. But if we simply enjoy the creative process, we can enjoy every single moment of it and that is ultimately what any creative expression offers us.
Its so important, amongst all the pressure and rushing around to “produce” something, be it a plan for a class, or a piece of artwork for an auction, to just take a few minutes to be in the pure enjoyment of the process. If your work doesn’t please you, its ok, its about the journey.
Here is a link to the article.
I have been working on ideas for my Art of the Knot class, and decided to do up a video with a few ideas. Drawing Celtic Knots is a lot of fun, but what to do once they are drawn?
Whether working from a template, or drawing an original knot, add tangles, color, highlights and other ornaments to a framework knot to really bring out their beauty.
Here is a quick video with just a few ideas.
Some ideas for enhancing and embellishing Celtic Knots
You can also watch this quick tutorial for drawing simple knots .
I have been drawing lots and lots of Celtic Knots lately, but after the knot is drawn, then what? I hadn’t been able to really come up with ideas for really enhancing the artistic aspects of these pieces.
That is, until a friend shared an image by Sulamith Wulfing, a turn of the century German artist and illustrator. Her work focuses on fairies, nature, and spirits. This is not normally my cup of tea, but the way she embellishes her drawings with ancient knot designs and other ornaments is beyond stunning!
I am so happy to have direction!
Here is an interesting article from the Huffington post about adults who color. The relaxing focus that the article writes about is applicable to drawing Zentangle, Mandalas, and Celtic Knots as well.
Here is a snippet from the article
Coloring has a de-stressing effect because when we focus on a particular activity, we focus on it and not on our worries. But it also “brings out our imagination and takes us back to our childhood, a period in which we most certainly had a lot less stress.”
For me, shading and coloring Zentangle Inspired Art is about more than creating beautiful art. Filling in space with color or pencil is very meditative. Watching a piece bloom with color is so gratifying. The results can be positively magical. Layering colors creates a beautiful depth that is so captivating to watch as it develops.
When my kids were young, they didn’t have coloring books. I didn’t object to them coloring, I just wanted them to draw their own lines. Coloring Zentangle Art, Mandalas and Celtic Knots which YOU draw gets the best of all worlds.
Add color to your Zentangle or Mandala or Celtic Knot artwork! Experiment!
Traditional methods of drawing these beautiful forms rely on a system developed by Iain Bain of connecting dots in grids. I have tried and failed to master this system many, many times. Furthermore, I am a “freeform” kind of gal, and have been trying to find a method of drawing these figures that could be used for more random, spontaneous figures.
A few years ago, I happened across a book by George Bain, and was struck by the simplicity of his methods. He basically sets out a string and draws auras on in all of the spaces, and around the outside. He then connects the auras with a system of bridges, that alternately go “over” and “under”. I have a little Minitutorial that demonstrates this technique.
But I was still unsatisfied. Getting the bridges to line up and the auras to be perfectly spaced to give the appearance of a smooth continuous cord was very frustrating. It was hard to develop a rhythm while drawing the aurae, as the spaces can be small and irregular.
I kept at it, and I have found some tricks and methods that are much more satisfying to use when drawing knots. The results are much better, and its easy to get into a “flow” once the techniques are practiced. I am teaching these in the “Taste of Celtic Knots” class, where we explore several methods of drawing knots, and practice making increasingly more complex knots, such as these:
And for the intrepid….
As in Zentangle, these designs look complex, and intimidating. Once you learn the system though, and have the “AHA” moment, a whole new world opens up!
Here are some of my Celtic Knot templates ready for tangling, coloring, embellishing, or whatever you might want to do.
Some of these are common knot forms, (like the Trinity Knot) .
The more complex ones are of my own design and are representative of designs that would be created in the Freeform Celtic Knot Design class.
Please feel free to use them in your artwork! Double Click a Celtic Knot Template to bring up a full size image. You can then download or print the Celtic Knot Template for your own use.
I would love to see what you come up with! Please upload images in the comments section, or share them on the ArtoftheTangle facebook page.
Celtic Knot Templates
I have been busy busy creating Celtic Knots as examples for some upcoming classes. One of the new classes, Art of the Celtic Knot, focuses on adding Zentangle embellishments and shading, to knots to add to their beauty. I decided to use one of my samples, done on Renaissance Tiles for the little Youtube Tutorial, instead of the old one.
Here is the new one…
I have been working up a lot of freeform Celtic Knots, Zentangle Style, so in honor of Valentines Day, A Heart-Inspired Freeform Celtic Knot. Check out this little tutorial on Celtic Knots .
Celtic Knots have been a source of fascination for me for many years. As a weaver, I am drawn to pattern created by the interlacements.
What is a Celtic Knot?
The most common use of “Celtic Knot” applies to patterns that feature interlaced, continuous lines or “cords”.
There are studies that have attempted to define the strict definition of what is… and what isn’t a Celtic Knot. Scholars have contradictory definitions.(I will explore that in another post.) Furthermore, ancient Celtic Art includes spirals, keys, and other geometric patterns that do not interlace.
For now, we will consider that designs that incorporate interlaced cords will qualify as Celtic Knots. The cords are typically continuous, but not necessarily, and if broken, and “stretched” will create a knot.
Celtic Knots have been used in ornamentation for over 1500 years. Decorative elements that are distinguished by the familiar interlacement of cords are founds in Roman mosaics dating back to the 4th century and are found in Roman mosaics. These designs are thought to have spread to Ireland in the 7th century.
One of the most common and simplest of forms is the “Trinity Knot” or triquetra. It is seen in ancient Christian art where it his thought to represent the Holy Trinity. It is also found in Pagan art, possibly representing land, sea and sky (I can’t remember where I read that… I will add the citation if I can find it).
Because there is very little written history about these works, its hard to decipher their symbolism. Many researchers don’t believe that there is any particular secret meaning in the patterns; their primary role is as decoration to fill up empty spaces in manuscripts.
Nevertheless, many think that the interconnected, endless cords are a representation of the eternal circle of life, of birth and rebirth, and of the interconnectedness of all things in nature. In some cultures, knots used as emblems warding against things that would interfere with continuity.
Some have attributed meanings to the individual motif elements in Celtic Knots. This paper explores some of the interpretations. The Trinity Knot is thought to symbolize
Some other interesting online resources include:
Margaret Bremner CZT has some beautiful posts about triquetras. Please visit her blog and enjoy her posts:
Plates from the book of Kells Book of Kells can be found at http://digitalcollections.tcd.ie/home/index.php?DRIS_ID=MS58_003v
Books on Celtic Knot legend and lore:
George Bain. Celtic Art: The Methods of Construction
Iain Bain. Celtic Knotwork