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Two-word review Title, author / Description
must have Celtic Knotwork, by Iain Bain © 1986.
This is the most accessible and comprehensive book on creating knotwork that I have found. It gives detailed instructions on constructing knotwork patterns of all types.
solid companion Celtic Key Patterns, by Iain Bain © 1993.
By the same author as Celtic Knotwork, this book describes how to create celtic key patterns.
great reference Celtic Art: The Methods of Construction, by George Bain © 1973.
The elder Bain shows how the Celts could have drawn their intricate patterns. He covers knotwork, spirals, key patterns, lettering, and zoomorphic designs. Though this book has a wider scope and many more examples than Iain's books, George's methods of construction are more difficult to follow.
scholarly work Celtic Art in Pagan and Christian Times, by J. Romilly Allen © 1993.
Both Bains rave about Allen's landmark works that describe the nature and significance of Celtic Art. This book is hard to find, but worth the effort. It shows some methods of construction, but everything is approached from the point of view of an art historian, not an artisan.
handy guide Celtic Desitn - Knotwork: The Secret Method of the Scribes, by Aidain Meehan © 1991.
Meehan's method is a little more difficult than Iain Bain's, but this book addresses a number of interesting issues related to knotwork. There are several related books in this series.
practical indeed How to Draw Celtic Knotwork: a Practical Handbook, by Andy Sloss © 1995.
Mr. Sloss describes how to create knotwork patterns by beginning with a palette of small squares, each of which has a small piece of the overall pattern on it. This method is well-suited to computer-based work.
great examples Celtic Knotwork Designs, by Sheila Sturrock © 1997.
This isn't my favorite book in terms of methodology, but it does demonstrate how to construct many different knots. Examples include heart motifs and zoomorphic (animal) patterns, both of which are very popular. Several related titles are available by the same author.
fabulous art The Celtic Art Source Book, by Courtney Davis © 1988.
Mr. Davis is a master of combining Celtic patterns with other imagery to produce evocative artwork. His illustrations grace many books on Celtic subjects and a Tarot Deck. His books are filled with great examples that inspire your own creativity and show that the knotwork, spirals, and key patterns invented by the Celts are still relevant today.
great examples Celtic Borders and Decoration, by Courtney Davis © 1992.
vibrant colors Celtic Mandalas, by Courtney Davis © 1994.
historical interest The Lindisfarne Gospels, by Janet Backhouse © 1981.
The Lindisfarne Gospels are illuminated manuscripts produced by the monks at the monestary of Lindisfarne. The intricate artwork is distinctly Celtic, but the gospel texts are Christian. Ms. Backhouse does a good job of describing how these two cultures came together to produce the famous manuscript. The illustrations show the fine artwork that went into the Lindisfarne Gospels.
Kellish goodness The Book of Kells, by Sir Edward Sullivan © 1986.
Sir Sullivan treats the Book of Kells, another illuminated manuscript (produced by the monks at the monestary at Kells), with the same attention that Ms. Backhouse gives the Lindisfarne Gospels.
For crafts Celtic Charted Designs, by Co Spinhoven © 1987.
Celtic knots, spirals, and zoomorphics charted on grids. Useful for crafts, but if you think of the grid squares as pixels, you can use it to produce computer graphics or icons.


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