Diane McDougall-Desautelle, “Celtic Knotwork Unraveled”, September 22, 2018

Celtic knotwork is a beautiful art form that can look more difficult than it actually needs to be. Once having learned the basics of drawing elementary knots, one can use simple methods to expand designs and use them in numerous creative applications, from illuminated pages to decorated objects. Working with the symbolic geometry that is innate to Celtic knotwork can be rewardingly meditative.

In this one-day workshop, participants will be introduced to the art of Celtic knotwork through a combination of history review, live demonstration of multiple methods of construction (different ways to approach interlacing designs), hands-on practice, and a look at the ways in which elements of this ancient art are being applied by artists and designers today. Handouts will include exemplars for traditional knots and borders, in-class exercises, terminology definitions, images from historic samples, pages from a variety of writings by prominent Celtic art researchers, and lists of resources. 

After learning the process of plotting out and interlacing the cords of a formal knot, we will make a lateral move to following the less measured and mathematical method of constructing freeform knots. Concentrating on balance and spacing, we will talk at this point about continuity in the curves of lines as they pass through intersections and the very important habit of looking for symmetry, shape, and weight of negative spaces. As a culmination of the day’s lessons, each student will choose one of their completed designs to cleanly trace in outline form. The cords of the knot will be outlined with Micron pen and colored in with Prismacolor pencils. Elegance and dimension will be added to this piece by finishing it off with subtle highlights and shadows, shading and blending colors to create depth and a 3-dimensional effect.

Diane McDougall-Desautelle has long been in love with the fascinating and mystical designs of Celtic art. Multiple trips to Scotland and England during her college years provided her with plenty of visual nourishment for years of work in calligraphy and Celtic influenced art and design. Today she takes as many opportunities as possible to thread this influence into her commissions and personal work. She is a graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts where she received her diploma and her BFA in affiliation with Tufts University in 1991. A natural love of teaching led her to continue at Tufts and pursue her Master of Arts in Teaching which she earned in 1993. In addition to running her small business, ThistleWork Design Calligraphy Studio from her Framingham home – Diane teaches calligraphy classes to children and adults at private schools and evening adult education programs. Her work can be seen online at www.ThistleWorkStudio.com and www.Facebook.com/ThistleWorkDesign

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