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Celtic Art: The Methods of Construction

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The construction principles of Celtic art were re-discovered in the middle of the 20th century by George Bain. Until his writing, the intricate knots, interlacings, and spirals used in illuminating The Book of Kells and in decorating craftwork and jewelry seemed almost impossible, "the work of angels." In this pioneering work, George Bain shows how simple principles, no mo The construction principles of Celtic art were re-discovered in the middle of the 20th century by George Bain. Until his writing, the intricate knots, interlacings, and spirals used in illuminating The Book of Kells and in decorating craftwork and jewelry seemed almost impossible, "the work of angels." In this pioneering work, George Bain shows how simple principles, no more difficult than those used in needlecraft, were used to create some of the finest artistic works ever seen. He also explains how you can use these principles in re-creating artifacts and in creating your own Celtic designs for art and craft work or even for recreational use. Step-by-step procedures carefully introduce the simple rules and methods of Celtic knot work and the well-known designs from the great manuscripts and stone work. Later chapters build up to complex knot work, spiral work, and key pattern designs, with special coverage of alphabets and the stylized use of animals, humans, and plants. Altogether over 225 different patterns are presented for your use, with hundreds of modification suggestions, 110 historical and modern artifacts showing designs in use, a great number of letters including six complete alphabets and 25 decorative initials, and a number of animal and human figures used in the original Celtic works. Artists, students, craftspeople, even children can work with these patterns and instructions for creating dynamic designs for use in leather work, in embroidery and other needle work, in metalwork, jewelry making, card design, borders, panels, illuminations, and in countless other ways. Mathematicians will find a great deal of pleasure in the geometric principles on which the patterns are based. Art historians and others interested in studying Celtic art will find a great number of outstanding art works and the best presentation in English for understanding Celtic design.


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The construction principles of Celtic art were re-discovered in the middle of the 20th century by George Bain. Until his writing, the intricate knots, interlacings, and spirals used in illuminating The Book of Kells and in decorating craftwork and jewelry seemed almost impossible, "the work of angels." In this pioneering work, George Bain shows how simple principles, no mo The construction principles of Celtic art were re-discovered in the middle of the 20th century by George Bain. Until his writing, the intricate knots, interlacings, and spirals used in illuminating The Book of Kells and in decorating craftwork and jewelry seemed almost impossible, "the work of angels." In this pioneering work, George Bain shows how simple principles, no more difficult than those used in needlecraft, were used to create some of the finest artistic works ever seen. He also explains how you can use these principles in re-creating artifacts and in creating your own Celtic designs for art and craft work or even for recreational use. Step-by-step procedures carefully introduce the simple rules and methods of Celtic knot work and the well-known designs from the great manuscripts and stone work. Later chapters build up to complex knot work, spiral work, and key pattern designs, with special coverage of alphabets and the stylized use of animals, humans, and plants. Altogether over 225 different patterns are presented for your use, with hundreds of modification suggestions, 110 historical and modern artifacts showing designs in use, a great number of letters including six complete alphabets and 25 decorative initials, and a number of animal and human figures used in the original Celtic works. Artists, students, craftspeople, even children can work with these patterns and instructions for creating dynamic designs for use in leather work, in embroidery and other needle work, in metalwork, jewelry making, card design, borders, panels, illuminations, and in countless other ways. Mathematicians will find a great deal of pleasure in the geometric principles on which the patterns are based. Art historians and others interested in studying Celtic art will find a great number of outstanding art works and the best presentation in English for understanding Celtic design.

30 review for Celtic Art: The Methods of Construction

  1. 5 out of 5

    Peta-Ann

    I had to draw Celtic knots for a commission. After trying to wing it for days, i gave up and bought this book. It saved my fat.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    I've been picking up a lot of Celtic art books from the library recently (I'm in Scotland, so they're plentiful). This is by far my favourite. Fantastic sourcing, great essays about each section, and absolutely stunning and varied art examples. Definitely one I'll be buying to keep on my reference shelf.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Deirdre

    What a great gem of a book!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    I have skimmed through this book and attempted some of the techniques in it. This is a hard art form... but I'm working on it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    A good reference book for Celtic knot work.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jacque

    Wow! Amazing work. My mind is going over all the info compressed in to those fabulous panels. I can't wait to put what I've learned to use.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Juliana Haught

    This is not a how-to but a reference. A nice book if you're interested in Celtic motifs and art.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bored Housewife

    Images too small One star for this travesty. It's not hard to make an image to a discernible scale in Kindle. But someone just hasn't bothered to format it properly and yet you're still charged a premium price! The main focus of the book is its images but they're too small to make sense of so you can't defer to what the author is referring to. This is supremely annoying. Pull your socks up, Amazon and start forcing publishers to ensure books are Kindle ready!!!!!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kenzie

    A beautiful book. I will enjoy having it as a reference for classic designs, but it's not as helpful as I thought it would be for creating my own knots. The first few pages show how the reader how to create different patterns, and it's fascinating. I'd say there is more focus on different design elements as opposed to the creation of the knots themselves.

  10. 5 out of 5

    F.T.

    This is the inner sanctum on the subject of Celtic art. It gave me some serious respect for the thing....

  11. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Watt

    The older style is going to be nearly unreadable by someone today, but it's still an awesome overview. Bain clearly paved the way for people like Co Spinhoven and Aidan Meehan.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Sellers

    love this book - Charlotte H. brought me copies of pages from the one in Iona Scotland. I treasure it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    I love this book! It has helped me create some unique cross stitch designs. Plus it gives a little history. A must for crafters

  14. 5 out of 5

    Austen to Zafón

    Excellent reference for how to create Celtic knots and other designs. I used it for years.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    George Bain is the best resource if you'd like to learn how to drawn or simply study traditional celtic knotwork.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Gniven

    Great for art teachers

  17. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    A reproduction of the work originally published in Glasgow in 1951. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/05/wor... Happy St. Patrick's Day!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    For actual construction methods, Iain Bain's more engineered approach works better for basic knotwork and panels, but the keywork and spirals are without comparison.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Subhrajyoti Bhuiyan

  20. 5 out of 5

    LOVEsick.Lila

  21. 4 out of 5

    James Davis

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jackson

  23. 4 out of 5

    Erin

  24. 4 out of 5

    Gary

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lee

  26. 5 out of 5

    Pardeep

  27. 4 out of 5

    TL. Cutrer

  28. 5 out of 5

    Josette Nichols

  29. 5 out of 5

    MawangArdhian MawangArdhian

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kkhayene1405

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