Saint Brigid’s Cross

Saint Brigid’s Cross


Saint Brigid’s Cross is as much a symbol of Ireland as the Shamrock and the Harp. Celebrated every year on the 1st of February St Brigid’s Day is a major event in the Irish calendar. Over the years the cross has become a prominent feature of Irish art, design and culture. Born in Dundalk in 450AD St Brigid was the founder of the first monastery in County Kildare, Ireland. She died in 525AD aged 75 and was buried within the church she created. Her remains were exhumed years later and brought to Downpatrick to rest alongside Saints Patrick and Columcille. In the year 2023 Saint Brigid’s Day is set to become a national holiday in Ireland.

Saint Brigid's Cross

This is my own design of the cross, surrounded by Snowdrops to welcome the arrival of Spring. The panel is 17 inches in diameter, made using the copper foil method and edged in lead came.


A brief history


The presence of Brigid’s cross in Ireland is likely far older than Christianity. The Celtic Goddess Brigid was one of the Tuatha Dé Danann and her day was the feast of Imbolc. Imbolc is an ancient Celtic festival now also known as St Brigid’s Day, marking the beginning of spring. This was celebrated at the start of February, halfway between the winter solstice and spring equinox.
There are many stories and legends surrounding the creation of the cross. The cross made of rushes today is very likely the descendant of the pagan sunwheel. This symbol invoked the great cosmic powers to bless the Earth with fertility, life, prosperity, and peace. The cross divides the circle into four parts, which represent the solar calendar. These symbolize the four annual seasons which have a very significant influence on the agricultural cycles.
Saint Brigid’s Crosses are made and displayed across Ireland today to ward off evil, fire and hunger.

Follow this link to make your very own St Brigid’s Cross

This pattern is available to purchase as a Downloadable PDF in the Patterns Store

The Green Man

The Green Man


It seems appropriate, given the time of year to share ” The Green Man ” with you.

The Green Man stained glass panel, a face made up of leaves and vegetation, designed by David Kennedy on

Introduction


 This is my Green Man stained glass panel, he is 17 inches in diameter. The total number of pieces in this panel is approx 56. If you search for The Green Man online you will find a huge variety of images in all sorts of mediums. From pub signs to wall plaques, it has also become very popular with stained glass artists. This is my take on the subject here using Youghiogheny Stipple Glass. The variation pictured below is 12-inch diameter and uses cathedral glass. Even though I have adapted the pattern you can see the difference in how the choice of glass affects the look of the panel.
Green Man stained glass panel, 12 inch diameter ,green cathedral glass

Brief History


The history of the Green Man image dates right back to pagan times. Found in many forms the most common feature being foliage sprouting from his face. He symbolises the cycle of life, death and rebirth, heralding in Spring after the long dark Winter. Although the image has adorned many ancient buildings the Term “Green Man” is more modern. In doing my research for this post I have come across a great many different stories of our foliated friend. One thing is for sure though he is around to stay, there is even an annual festival held in Wales.

Symbolism


There are strong Irish connections among many others in pagan folklore. Most of these centre around Beltane the Celtic festival of fire. Held on the 1st of May between the Spring equinox and the Summer solstice and also known as a cross-quarter day. There would be feasting and rituals celebrating fertility and rebirth. Fires were lit and the cattle were driven through the smoke to protect them from disease.

This Pattern is available to purchase as a PDF Download in the Patterns Store.