At Walker Metalsmiths, we have a long-standing tradition of observing St. Brigid’s Day on February 1st by creating a new St. Brigid’s Cross in her honor each year. In this vein, our designer Lindsey created a unique and beautiful new St. Brigid's cross design just in time to celebrate her Feast Day. St. Brigid has many symbols that represent her. Her most familiar symbol is the St. Brigid's Cross itself, as well as a flame and oak tree. A lesser known symbol, but no-less beautiful, is the St. Brigid’s Flower (Anemone coronaria St. Brigid), or the St. Brigid Anemone, which finds its origins tracing back to the late 19th Century.
The earliest reference to this flower was in a volume of the Journal of Horticulture and Practical Gardening from 1893. In it, the author references a woman who established a vibrant, hearty new strain of Anemones in her garden in County Kildare, Ireland. Her garden, it was said, was located close to the site of St. Brigid’s Church, and the flowers themselves were described as being so intensely beautiful and brilliant that they could dispel the darkness of winter and bring light to the world. As Brigid herself is associated with fire and light, and her feast day celebrates the coming of Spring, it seems these vibrant blossoms are the perfect representation of this beloved Saint.
The feast day of St. Brigid, also known as Imbolc in pagan Gaelic traditions, heralds the coming of spring and the rebirth of the land after cold, hard winters. When it comes to St. Brigid, it seems fair to say that her area of influence covers just about everything but the kitchen sink. She is one of the three patron saints of Ireland, and the list of what she is responsible for is lengthy. St. Brigid is the patron saint of babies, blacksmiths, boatmen, cattle farmers, children whose parents are not married, children whose mothers are mistreated by the children's fathers, dairymaids, dairy workers, fugitives, Ireland, Leinster, mariners, midwives, milkmaids, nuns, poets, the poor, poultry farmers, printing presses, sailors, scholars, travelers, and watermen. Needless to say, she certainly has her hands full!
St. Brigid is also held in high esteem here at Walker Metalsmiths because it is said that she founded a school of art in Kildare, Ireland, which included the practices of metalworking and illumination. A book of the greatest renown was created at this school, and according to Gerald of Wales (an early 13th century Archdeacon and historian), he never witnessed another work that was comparable to this Book of Kildare that included unrivaled illuminations and knotwork that he described as, “the work of angelic, and not human skill." As artists and jewelers, it could be said that we, too, are always striving to create unrivaled and unparalleled works of beauty that could perhaps be worthy of such lofty praise! We certainly think Lindsey did just that and more with her beautiful new design, and we hope you think so, too! Have a blessed St. Brigid's Day!
Comments will be approved before showing up.