Sunday, November 11, 2012

Geometric Musings Part 1. Celtic Influences

Connemara Marble Ornament. Sterling Silver, Irish Marble & Onyx. Christmas, Patrick's Day, Rear View Mirror
geometric Connemara marble, onyx and Sterling silver ornament
 Geometry was about the only aspect of mathematics I enjoyed as a teenager and I suspect that had more to do with aesthetics than actual maths. My father is a retired accountant and avid mathematician. My mother, however, is very much an artist, who has mastered multiple crafts and now in her autumnal years, has finally turned to painting.  I take after both of them in many ways, but guess I know who influenced me most.

Though I tend to doodle flowers and swirly shapes, as a teen I whiled away much time practicing Celtic knots, spirals and 'plaits' and other intricate, Celtic borders.

Irish Celtic Earrings. Cork Red Marble. Celtic Knot. Rare Stone.   Roisin
Cork red marble earrings with Celtic knot bead
Hardly surprising that these elements crop up in so many of my designs today. I didn't start out using Irish references in my work. It was a natural evolution once I started discovering beautiful Irish materials.

 Irish Connemara Marble Statement Pendant, Chunky.  Celtic Air.                                 Christmas Tree Ornament from Ireland. Connemara Marble. Celtic Spiral Charm
   spiral charm on Connemara Pendant                                                    tightly wound spiral on tree ornament

The spiral is one of the most recognisable Celtic shapes, though it is not exclusive to this ancient culture. It shows up in various parts of the globe including Africa and South America. It is believed that for the Celts, the spiral may have represented infinity, the circle of life or even afterlife.

Bookmark. Irish Sea glass & Silver Plate. Beach Glass Bookmark Handmade in Ireland.
loose spiral
Irish Connemara Marble Decoration. Christmas Ornament from Ireland. Celtic Art.
Spiral & squiggle wire work

I find it most relaxing to form a spiral out of wire. If I've hit one of those creative blocks, where nothing inspires me, I wind and hammer spiral charms and swirly hooks to use later. I guess it's akin to taking a few stretches or taking a short walk when you can't motivate yourself to launch into strenuous exercises.
Green Chrysocolla Pendant, Wire Wrapped Gemstone, Sterling Silver. WAVES
wire wrapped pendant with triple spiral
Spirals are found frequently in modern, wire-wrapped jewellery all over the globe. They are aesthetically pleasing and an alternative way to 'finish off' the wire ends neatly rather than flattening them around the base of the bail.  The triple spiral in this wire-wrapped pendant was a slightly more complicated spin on that concept.

 Connemara Marble Star Ornament. Christmas Tree Decoration in Rare, Green, Irish  Stone
I formed the wire hook on this Christmas star out of silver wire, vaguely referencing another typical, Celtic shape, the figure 8.

In part 2 I will be comparing the 6 pointed hexagram (above) versus a five point star  for Christmas ornaments. Which is the 'correct' shape? Do please pop back on Tuesday to read more.

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