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November 7, 2012

As promised, my second blank is a small one that I could finish easily before the weekend.  This is just 5×7″ and the design is based on a variety of patterns taken from George Bain’s Celtic Art: The Methods of Construction, which is one of the big scribal resources for Celtic designs.  This “Tree of Life” motif is found in several illustrations in the famed Book of Kells, an Irish manuscript produced around the year 800.  The pattern – the shapes of the leaf elements, particularly – comes from a carved stone fragment also detailed in Celtic Art dating between 700-800AD.

I’ve used this design on a couple of illuminated note cards that I’ve done and when I was looking for my original drawing I discovered that I must have made this combination of elements myself!  All of the Book of Kells examples have birds in them and I can’t find this exact image in Bain’s book, so I must have put it together.  I did find my original layout drawing on graph paper in my scribal stuff, which I’ve now scanned into the computer, so I can change the scale in the future for other projects if necessary.

Now I’m looking at my book on the St. Albans Psalter, a 12th century English manuscript with over 40 illuminated pages, many of which have really great border designs, and planning for next week’s project!

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