In spring 2006 I was able to enjoy a short drive to neighboring town High River, to present the Aon Celtic Art Workshop to the The Highwood United Calligraphy Group. We were able to cover the 2 day beginner/intermediate weekend workshop, with a slide show presentation the friday evening before we began, and on sunday afternoon we enjoying a bit of play time with a simple gilding demonstration. I brought along small gilding kits for everyone and we enjoyed a bit of winding down time adding glitz to the pieces people had created over the weekend. The class had a great turn out, with folks coming in from different cities and even one from another province to attend the class, and I really enjoyed High River as a comfortable easy going town. And the Smitty's had great coffee! Thanks to everyone who was able to attend the workshop and for making me feel so welcome. Below is a review of our workshop, written and printed in the Highwood United Calligraphy newsletter.


Workshop Review by Melanie McCracken, on behalf of the Highwood United Calligraphers

On the weekend of May 26-28, 2006, The Highwood United Calligraphers hosted their second workshop where 17 people gathered at High River United Church for a Celtic Knot workshop led by Celtic Design artist and BVCG member Cari Buziak.

The weekend kicked off on the Friday evening with a complimentary slide show of Cari's work and an open discussion. The evening was open to the public and about 35 people attended.

On Saturday morning Cari began teaching us the technique of creating some simple basic knot designs using the dotted-grid pattern. We learned to weave lines under, over, under, over... Sometimes the room was so quiet you could hear folks whispering, "under, over, under, over..." Everyone seemed to catch on quite quickly which is a testament to Cari's teaching skill.

Cari used an overhead projector to demonstrate the step-by-step patterns of knots. This made it easy for all see and to follow along with her step-by-step instructions.

After mastering some basic knot designs, Cari showed us how to vary our knotwork by drawing walls into our design to achieve different effects in our knots.

After a delicious catered lunch we spent the afternoon creating borders, corners and crosses. We were given ample time to color and complete several designs.

On Sunday we learned how to make circular knot designs, Trinity knots or trefoil knots, freehand knotting and as a bonus, Cari taught a few animal heads or zoomorphic designs. Then she showed us how to transfer our designs onto good paper using artist's graphite paper.

The magical moment of the weekend for me was when she showed us how to lay down gold leaf. After a thorough demonstration Cari had mini kits with sheets of imitation gold leaf for us to purchase so we could all try our hand at laying down gold leaf.

Cari advised us when doing a good piece, to do our guilding first before adding any other colors to our designs as the adhesive you lay down for guilding sticks to everything. Cari prefers "Old World Art" adhesive when guilding with imitation gold leaf.

If you would like to learn more about Celtic Knots, visit Cari's website: This site gives step by step instructions on how to construct knots. These are easy to follow instructions and the site is also full of Cari's beautiful designs. This is a must see site for those interested in studying Celtic Art!

You can find more information on Cari's workshops on her website.

Cari's favorite books she uses as study guides:

The Book of Kells 800 AD

The Book of Durrow 600 AD

The Lindisfarne Gospels 700 AD

Great book on Celtic Designs: Celtic Art (The Method of Construction) by George Bain

Jody Seeley practicing celtic knots.

Cari Buziak demonstrates transfering designs using artist's graphite paper.

Joyce Barton practices spiral drawings.

Bev Lokseth points out some of her masterpieces.

The room was so quiet as participants practiced weaving their knotty designs.

Lyn Jones (front) and Rachel.

Cari Buziak demonstrates laying down gold leaf during the Celtic knot. Cari uses Old World Adhesive (available at Mona Lisa in Calgary). Using a fine brush she paints the adhesive onto the portion of her design that she wants the gold to adhere to. (use an old brush for this as the adhesive eventually destroys the brush.) When the adhesive dries (approx 10 minutes) she lays the gold leaf on top and Voila! Gorgeous gold leaf. Make sure you wash your brush out after using the adhesive. Make sure you apply the gold leaf before coloring the rest of your design because the adhesive sticks to everything. You could also create a frame-template to put over your design so only the portion you want to guild shows through. This would protect the rest of the page from accidental drips of gesso/adhesive. Just an idea!

Celtic knot cross - Final piece from workshop by Melanie McCracken, May 28, 2006 (very late at night, after too much coffee) cross is outlined in blue Staedler felt and flooded with purple. Gold foil leaf corners.

Bev Lokseth, High River, Alberta - Knot design worked out in class on dotted paper, May 2006

Celtic Cross by Brenda Teiwel, Calgary