Insular Art is a code for Celtic Art. Don’t ask why. It’s a long story. But every three to five years there is an international conference where scholars, archaeologists and museum curators meet to hold forth on their latest discoveries and opinions. In 2014 I went to Ireland as one of the presenters at the Seventh International Insular Art Conference in Galway to speak as the lone representative of toiling Celtic craftsmen.
The conference proceedings were then groomed for publishing and released as a very serious looking book. The publisher, Four Courts Press, is Ireland’s leader in scholarly tomes. How cool is it that they describe the book as “Essays by forty leading experts” and then list Stephen Walker as one of the authors?
My contribution was about how the chip-carved stem of the Ardagh Chalice would have been made. This 8th century masterpiece of Celtic metalwork is a miracle of craftsmanship and design. I offered an original explanation of the molding and carving techniques and prove the plausibility of my theory by creating a facsimile of the piece using materials and methods that would have been available to medieval craftsmen.
After many delays, the book is now on sale. Order it now and you can get it for €54.00, €6 off the list price.
In July 2017 I will be heading off to Scotland for the Eighth International Insular Art Conference. My lecture on how the openwork panels of the 12th century Cross of Cong were created will be at 2:30 on 13 July at the University of Glasgow. Look for that in the next conference book in a year or two.
From the publisher:
Islands in a Global Context
Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Insular Art
Conor Newman, Mags Mannion & Fiona Gavin, editors
Essays from over forty leading experts on Insular art c .AD400–1500, across all media including stone, vellum, cloth, metal and glass. Along with a focus on art of the Insular world of Britain and Ireland, the book also considers the contemporary European and Mediterranean background and context of Insular art, under the headings of motif, theme, symbol, transmission, translation and scholarship. Offering new perspectives on familiar objects and introducing new finds, like the other volumes in the series, this lavishly illustrated book is a must for all serious students of Insular art.
Contributors include: Niamh Whitfield; Donncha MacGabhann; Meg Boulton; Heidi Stoner; Jane Hawkes; Kees Veelenturf; Carol Farr; Victoria Whitworth; Bernard Meehan; Susan Youngs; Hayley Humphrey; Griffin Murray; Stephen Walker; Peter Darby; Anna Gannon; Tasha Gefreh; Melissa Herman; Samuel Gerace; Robert Stevick; Roger Stalley; Colleen Thomas; Jennifer Gleeson; Carol Neuman de Vegvar; Michael King; Dominique Barbet-Massin; Conor Newman; Mags Mannion; Eleonora Destefanis, Michael Clarke, Máirín Ní Dhonnachadha.
Conor Newman, Mags Mannion and Fiona Gavin all teach at NUI Galway.
Hardback. 320pp; Colour ills. Large Format. ISBN: 978-1-84682-568-2. Retail Price: €60.00
Available: June 2017
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August 1st marks Lughnasadh. This festival signifies the ending of summer and the beginning of fall, a the start of the harvest season. And just as Lughnasadh has been celebrated for centuries, the symbols used in our handcrafted Celtic jewelry here at Walker Metalsmiths have also been part of Celtic history since ancient times.