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Design and Construction of Celtic Knotwork
Temair ingen Muiredaich, Banbharun Pennsic XXXIII – 08/18/04 Two methods for designing Celtic Knotwork will be described and tried, then we will discuss recreating knotwork based on period sources. Of course, knotwork designs are not unique to Celtic art. Many cultures and periods have used such designs. Today, we will be focusing on the use of knotworkon SCA scrolls. The two methods we will be using today both use a grid. The first is a method described in SCA documents and requires little to no erasing. The second method uses a “centerline” as described by George Bain. The methods are similar, but some people find one method easier to use than another. Each method also has its own advantages and disadvantages. By looking at construction linesand dots that show through period documents, research has found that both of these methods were used in period.

No (or very little) Erasing
As suggested by the title, this method of knotwork construction requires very little or no erasing when complete. The dots used to guide the pattern are located in the background area of the knotwork which will typically be painted or carved. This is avery "free-form" design method and is useful for covering oddly shaped regions. This method is described in the Knowne World Handbook and discussed at length in the Compleat Anachronist ##118 (Winter 2003). STEP 1: Creating a grid of dots Start by drawing a regular rectangular grid of dots, filling the space in which you wish to put knotwork. Dots should be equally spaced. The distance between dotsis roughly the width of the knotwork ribbons you will be creating.

Once the rectangular grid is complete, add an additional dot to the center of each square. This will form the diagonal dot grid needed for knotwork.

STEP 2: Weave the ribbon Starting in an open area of your dot grid (not next to the edge), draw two diagonal lines between the dots as shown. This is the start of your ribbon.Draw another set of diagonal lines parallel (and adjacent) to the first set, as shown in the picture. Continue expanding out drawing the diagonal strips in opposite directions. This forms the under-and-over weave pattern typical of regular knotwork designs.

STEP 4: Curving at the breaks Your ribbon is not allowed to cross a break (or edge). But your ribbon is diagonal and breaks are horizontalor vertical. So, when you approach a break, simply curve the ribbon to avoid the break, as shown.

This method of construction allows you to draw as you go. You do not have to do any initial layout, other than the grid of dots. The biggest drawback of this method is that you have less control over the overall design. If you are trying to achieve a specific effect, such as only having a singleribbon intertwined with itself, it is better to use the next method.

Putting Breaks in With No (or very little) Erasing
STEP 1: Same as above STEP 2: Adding breaks Adding breaks causes the knotwork to loop back on itself. A break is simply a line that the knotwork is not allowed to cross. For example, the entire edge border of the design is a break. A break is either a horizontal or vertical lineconnecting one or more dots. Breaks can intersect at a dot, but should not cross each other anywhere else along the line. Breaks are useful for leaving holes in your knotwork. For example, when carving, you might want the knotwork to flow around a defect in the wood. Simply surround the defect with breaks. A symmetric or uniform pattern of line breaks will result in a symmetric and more pleasingknotwork design. STEP 3: Weave the ribbon Starting in an open area of your dot grid (not next to a break), draw two diagonal lines between the dots as shown. This is the start of your ribbon. Draw another set of diagonal lines parallel (and adjacent) to the first set, as shown in the picture. Continue expanding out drawing the diagonal strips in opposite directions. This forms the under-and-over...
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