Think Art Loud

Inspiring, Encouraging, and Promoting the Handmade Arts and Artists

My Art Monday: Ireland and My Art

Posted Monday, March 17th, 2014

Although I presently live in the U.S., I was born in Cork, Ireland and whenever I go back over (which, I’m sad to say, has not been for some time) it still feels like home. So, since it’s St. Patrick’s Day today, I wanted to share some of the pieces I’ve done that have been directly influenced by my love of Ireland (and Celtic design/history).

Symbols of Ireland by Laura Hepworth

The drawing shown above was a piece I did for an assignment in Drawing II while I was in college. It was a five step assignment. Unfortunately, I can’t completely remember what all the steps were, but it started with picking a small object to draw that had some kind of meaning to us. I chose something that reminded me of Ireland: a pound coin. Each subsequent object, or part of an object (some portions of the assignment involved deconstruction and metamorphosis), the stag, to the outline of Ireland, the Celtic zoomorph from the back of the old 1 pence (I miss the old coins!), a 50p morphing into the Irish 50cent Euro, and the Celtic knots, each piece I drew was a symbol of Ireland. Well, with the exception of the border, we were each assigned one playing card and had to incorporate some portion of that card into the drawing; I chose to make a border from one of small almost unnoticeable elements on the face-card I was assigned.

Celtic Knot wood carvings - Laura Hepworth

I love Celtic knots, however, I don’t think that I ever want to carve them again! One of the assignments in my Sculpture class was wood carving (via a dremel). Instead of carving a single piece of wood, I chose to carve multiple smaller pieces in different types of wood (my dad has lovely selection of wood!) and have each of the large carvings be different Celtic knots and the did zoomorphs for the smaller ones. The carving was rather fun (except for when I slipped with the dremel and took a good chunk out of my nail/finger; that was not so fun), but very tedious!! I kept asking myself why I’d brought that torture on myself by choosing to carve Celtic knotwork. Particularly, since before this assignment I’d never done an wood carving before!!

Eibhlin chainmaille necklace - Handmaden Designs LLC

Another, though more subtle, way that my art has been influenced by Ireland (and the Celts in general) is seen in much of the jewelry that I make. One of my primary techniques is that of chainmaille, and chainmaille was invented by the Celts to make better armour. The set shown above, also takes inspiration in Celtic design. It was specifically inspired by the Celtic revival pieces created by Archibald Knox for Liberty & Co. in the 1800s during the Art Nouveau movement.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and I hope you enjoy this selection of Ireland/Celtic inspired artwork as much as I enjoyed making it!

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