I can recall hearing my grandmother say that sometimes before a social event or having guests in her home, her stomach would be “all tied up in knots.” Some folks call it having “butterflies” — that anxious feeling that causes our stomachs to feel a tad uneasy. Even singer Elvis Presley admitted that he always got “butterflies” just before stepping onto the stage—because he wanted to do a good job but was uncertain whether he would. Knots in our stomach may not be a good thing but there are plenty of other knots that are great. Just think how helpful knots can be: holding things together that might otherwise be flying in all directions…..a porch swing, a tire swing, a small boat tied to the pier, etc. What about that knot at the end of the rope we are hanging on to—where would we be without that? There are all kinds of knots….just ask any Boy Scout or sailor—square knot, bowline, clove hitch to name a few.
And if you’ve never taken the time to examine Celtic knots then try to grab a few minutes to do so. Celtic knots are probably seen more often today in jewelry (especially crosses) than anywhere else, but in Ireland, England, Scotland, and Wales they are part of the décor on ancient and modern churches, public buildings, and even in homes. They are intricate and beautiful, and you will not be able to find the beginning or the end. Interlace patterns date back to artwork in the Roman Empire, and knot patterns first appeared in the third and fourth centuries AD. Basically, there are only eight elementary knots that form the basis for nearly all interlaced patterns in decorative Celtic art. In the U S in the 1970’s and 1980’s, the Celtic knot was most popular as a tattoo design.
So in this month of thinking “green” and “St. Patrick’s Day”, don’t forget the Celtic knot. Although originating across the pond, the influence of this lovely artwork can be found all across America today. Keep your eyes open and see how many Celtic designs you can find in architecture, jewelry, and home décor.
(c) 2019 Leslie Kelley