There are eight elementary knots which form the basis of nearly all the interlaced patterns in Celtic decorative art. Two of the elementary knots are derived from a three-cord plait, and the remaining six from a four-cord plait. Before the Christian influence on the Celts (about 450 A.D.), the only known Celtic artwork consisted of geometrical patterns such as spirals, key patterns, and step patterns. It has been suggested that the Celts' religion prevented them from depicting the works of the creator, namely animals, plants, and humans. That is why their artwork is restricted to geometrical patterns.
Celtic knots were used to decorate Bible manuscripts, monuments (notably Celtic crosses and cross slabs) and jewelry. The Book of Kells, a fantastic collection of paintings penned circa 800 A.D. that illuminate the four Gospels in Latin, is the best known source of Celtic knots.
For an intricate and unique jack-o'-lantern, try carving Celtic knots, complete loops with no end or beginning, into a pumpkin.
Tools and Materials
Celtic knot templates one and two
Funkin (foam pumpkin)
Celtic Knot Pumpkin How-To
1. Download Celtic knot template one or two. Fit template to size of funkin by enlarging or reducing template; print. Staple Celtic knot template onto funkin.
2. Start poking tiny holes through template to form Celtic knot outline. Remove staples and take off template. Begin cutting funkin out by using a key hole saw, starting in the middle and working outwards.
For more information on the history of Celtic knots, visit celticfolklore.com/history. To purchase a ready-made Celtic knot pumpkin, visit hudsonvalley.org.