What is a Celtic Folk Wheel?
It is a piece of hand-crafted folk art conceived by me, based on the same concept as the Native American "dream-catcher" and the Pennsylvania Dutch "hex sign", but with a unique, distinctly Celtic twist.
Each image represents something from Celtic culture, tradition, legend, or mythology. Most are either original designs or original reproductions of traditional ones. A select few are copies of works created by renowned Celtic artist George Bain, "borrowed" with the deepest respect for his artistry, each rightfully acknowledged. And of course, acknowledgements must also be made to those original artists whose gifted hands helped form the very foundation of Celtic history and culture.
It's circle shape corresponds with the spiral, a primitive design form dating back to the Paleolithic Age. It is found in the art works of almost every ancient culture, but it was the Celts who gave it dimension and life. Early tribes decorated their shields and livery with it, carved it into stone monuments and ornamental jewelry. Later, following the introduction of Christianity, monastic scribes produced manuscripts filled with illuminated art of unparalleled beauty and mastery, all profusely embellished with spiral art. It is symbolic of eternity, the endless cycle of life - a precept the Celts held sacred.
The three ribbons hanging from each wheel represent a Celtic tenet sometimes referred to as the "power of three"; triplication is a recurring element throughout Celtic art and ideology, especially with regard to deities. The mother goddess, for example, is often portrayed as three separate entities, each representing one of the three stages of womanhood: maiden, matron, and crone. Other Celtic triads include the continuity of time (past, present, future), the order of the universe (earth, the heavens, and the underworld), and the cycle of life (creation, growth, destruction).
The beads that embellish each ribbon are nearly all made from natural materials (glass, clay, wood, and metal). They are hand selected for each wheel, and are meant to honor the ancient Celt's deep understanding and abiding respect for the natural world, their remarkable skill in metal and stone work, and their profound appreciation for beauty.
Every image contains a trace of the ancient past. Behind each one lies a story, and within each story dwells a myriad of tradition, a spark of wisdom, a hint of mystery, and of course...just a wee glimmer of Celtic magic!