Posted by on Feb 16, 2014 in Currently Available, Jewish Ritual Art, News, Visual Art | 0 comments

Throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance, manuscript art filled volumes with sacred Christian, Jewish, and Moslem writings.  While the lettered texts ranged from Latin to Hebrew to Arabic in a variety of ‘hands’ or lettering styles, there were some few decorative elements which were shared among the cultures. Initial letters, those elaborate letters that started pages of text and often featured fanciful animal and vine decoration, and gilded and painted leaves and dots, frequently had their counters-the spaces within the letter shapes-filled with patterns.  These patterns are found in Ireland’s Book of Kells, in 15th Century Haggadahs from Spain, in elegant Books of Hours from France, and in elaborate Arabic writings from the Middle East.

Trefoils, ‘golf clubs’ – little patterns that served to fill in blank spaces around letters – have fascinated me since I had the good fortune to see pages from the Book of Kells when the book toured Philadelphia in the 1970’s, and to study with Mark Van Stone, master of Celtic lettering arts.  I decided to give these  doodles free reign, and the result is the Medieval Star, crafted entirely of these tiny shapes.  I used only a straight edge, a compass, and a Rapidograph pen, and built the design from the very center out, allowing it to grow organically. The entire design is less than 12 inches across.

medieval star

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