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Knotwork And Spirals: A Celtic Art Workbook Paperback – December 31, 1999
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However, the book is still useful in a number of ways:
(1) Beginning artists can do just what Davis advises, and play around with the patterns offered here, making little adjustments to create new designs. This is an excellent way of familiarizing oneself with the way Celtic knotwork is put together. Once you understand the basic structural themes, you can get bolder and start creating your own designs.
(2) Artists already familiar with the construction of Celtic knots may still enjoy perusing the patterns in the book while looking for inspiration for their own works. I do this a lot myself, and often incorporate elements of various pieces into my artwork.
(3) Children and beginning artists will find that this makes a very nice coloring book. The knots and spirals are full-page black-and-white outline drawings, ideal for coloring. For those using the book in this way Davis suggests, and I agree, that you should photocopy the image you want to work with rather than coloring straight into the book. This way, you can always re-do the same piece in different colors later on.
Davis begins the book with a brief introduction to Celtic artwork, including its history, purpose, and use and effect of color. The information is surface-level at best, but still interesting. From here on, the book is divided into two sections as the title implies. The first concerns knotwork, and the second deals with spirals. The sections offer basic information on the structure of knots and spirals, a little more history, and some of Davis's own interpretations on symbolism. There are also approximately 45 patterns for you to work with and draw inspiration from, and at the center of the book can be found 16 quarter-page color examples. Each image is accompanied by a caption explaining a little about the origins of the design.
Whether the book will be worthwhile to you depends on what you are looking for. If you want a lot of instruction, you won't find it here. But if you just want a source of possible inspiration, this may be a useful resource to help you generate ideas.
The book is filled with examples of knotwork borders, medallions, and other elements used to illustrate the beautiful books painstakingly copied by Christian monks--like the Book of Kells--as well as other church artifacts. Davis shares some insights into the symbology or supposed symbology of some designs, such as the center of the spiral as the 'motionless mover' (God) with flows of energy as spirals around the center.
Davis includes a number of designs of his own creation, built up as he says from doodles. There are many pages of knots and spirals for coloring, so the book makes a nice workbook for children with an artistic bent.