More Celtic Design Knotwork

I’ve been feeling really low the past couple days, especially yesterday. Low energy, sad mood – almost on the verge of tears. I told Fox I didn’t think I had the energy to cry. I’m worried because I’m going to run out of my medications soon and I still haven’t even started trying to find a new psychiatrist. But I don’t have the energy to make a phone call. I really wish someone would hold my hand through the whole process.

The ironic thing is, Sunday night is the first time in weeks that I slept anywhere near a normal amount of time. Fox and I went to bed around 3:30 am; I woke a little bit before 7:30. Then, I fell back to sleep on the couch from about 8-something to 11:30 am. So, I got about 7-8 hours of sleep. And a comparable amount last night. That’s about twice what I’ve gotten used to.

A Josephine knot panel. I used differently-colored pencils to create the 10x10 grid that serves as the foundation for the knotwork.

A Josephine knot panel. I used differently-colored pencils to create the 10×10 grid that serves as the foundation for the knotwork.

I have had the energy to explore knotwork some more. One of my favorite things about Celtic knotwork (besides the gorgeous designs) is following the path(s) through all the different knots. I decided to color my Josephine knot panel from my last post in order to help myself visualize the path.

As it turns out, there are actually 4 paths that intersect each other, two at a time. In other words, “the knot is not continuous.” I’ll admit I was a bit disappointed to learn this because I really prefer continuous knots. However, I was able to use the process of coloring the different paths to explore how different parts of myself interact.

Josephine knot panel, colored.

Josephine knot panel, colored.

From left to right: the blue represents the depths of my emotions; they are complex and flow one into another, like the waves of the ocean. It’s hard to understand them because the light from the surface only goes so far; beyond its limits it is too dark to see what’s really happening. But the emotions are there and they are an important part of me.

The red represents my passion, life energy. I thought it would be one of the colors to stand out the most, but it’s actually quite subdued against the purple background. That’s actually quite fitting because my passion’s been lacking – everything from libido to motivation to do anything, even activities I enjoy. Passion is kind of important for expressing emotions; without the energy to move them outward, all they can do is sit and fester inside me.

The dark brown represents grounding and the Earth. There’s an element of fertility in there – creativity – as well as holding and nurturing. It keeps the passion from getting out of control; it helps the emotions stay manageable. Too often I’ve used it to keep calm for others’ benefit, at the expense of my own emotional well-being.

Finally, the gold represents intellect. It works best from a place of grounding, calm, rather than passion. It’s my major coping mechanism: focusing on cognitive tasks to distract myself from my emotions; trying to understand and/or explain what’s going on intellectually so, if I must feel, at least I can throw words and ideas at my emotions.

This is the filter through which I try to share my experiences in blog posts. If the emotions could speak for themselves … well, I’ll admit, that idea is kind of scary. But Wakana did get me to start improvising on viola again, at least for a couple of days. I need to find a safe place for it to stay out of its case – visible and ready to play.

Yesterday I wanted to make a continuous Celtic knot panel, so I made some adjustments to the design. I removed one of the rows of knots, creating a more rectangular shape, and used foundation knots at the top and bottom of the panel. This created one long circuitous path that was quite fun to trace.

Continuous knotwork panel designed by Ziya.

Continuous knotwork panel designed by Ziya.

As I was drawing this design, I thought about how sometimes we must leave certain things unfinished, and go off in an unexpected direction to take care of something else (e.g. dropping my graduate classes to focus on recovering from severe depression and anxiety). This can be hard for me to deal with; I’d much rather complete the thing I’m working on right now – especially since I have a bad habit of starting (often expensive and/or time consuming) projects and then never finishing them. I have a lot of guilt around that. But maybe I just need to learn to trust that, if something is important enough to me, I’ll come back to it in my own time. If I never get back to that thing, it’s really not the end of the world.

Celtic Design Knotwork

Wakana strongly encouraged me to try something new. So, I pulled out a book that’s been on my shelf for a while now, Celtic Design: Knotwork by Aidan Meehan. It has instructions for drawing your own Celtic knotwork, starting with how to create various grids (e.g. 2×2, 5×5) and moving from simple to increasingly complex patterns. After experimenting with it for a couple of days, I have a few drawings I would like to share:

A foundation knot, including the color-coded grid I used to draw it.

A foundation knot, including the color-coded grid I used to draw it.

A Josephine knot border.

A Josephine knot border.

A Josephine knot panel. I used differently-colored pencils to create the 10x10 grid that serves as the foundation for the knotwork.

A Josephine knot panel. I used differently-colored pencils to create the 10×10 grid that serves as the foundation for the knotwork.

Although artistically-speaking it’s probably better not to allow the grid to show through, I love how it remains visible in this final piece. There were many overlapping layers involved in the creation of the grid, and the knotwork forms yet another layer on top of it. I love that the knotwork serves as both the focus of the piece and a means of seeing parts of the process that went into its creation.

I see it as a metaphor for how people have multiple layers of being – thoughts to words, emotions to affect, impulses to actions, etc. What anyone sees me doing at a given point in time is only a small fraction of who I am.