Choosing a symbol to represent my new work feels important & so, I have spent a great deal of time researching back through the ages and eventually, I found The Dara knot, an ancient Celtic Symbol. The Celts designed these graphics to represent & celebrate certain aspects of life that were important to them. Celtic symbols are pre-christianity, thought to date from about 450BC & we know about them because they have been left in stone & wood sculptures, in old architecture - influencing art & design throughout the ages.
I was astounded when I found the Dara Knot becasue it is one of the oldest Welsh Celtic symbols and it represents the passion that Celts had for trees, in paricular the Oak. I have a long relationship to Oak trees myself, but that's a story for another time. The Dara symbolises connectivity between the branches and roots of the oak trees that once covered pretty much the whole of Wales.
You see, the Celts understood the cycle of life that trees have both within themselves and with each other. What I find fascinating about this, is that today, more than 2.5 thousand years later, we are only just finding out about this connectivity - science has 'discovered' mycelium, the fine feathery fungi that connect all trees to each other under the ground, warning of impending crises & sending messages within and across forests, linking them all together beneath the soil. We are shocked by this becasue we thought we were the first on the planet to unearth a worldwide web but actually, the original one is under the forest floor and has been for all eternity.
Sapling Oak - Elan Valley Rainforest
... And it seems to me that Celts knew this already, because, through the Dara knot, we get an insight into how they understood that the roots and branches of trees are interconnected, and that forests are interdependent on each other. See how the quarters of the symbol link with themselves and then with each other.
In Welsh language, Dara means 'second' - Maybe, orginally, there was a Celtic knot for each tree and if there was, I am intrigued to know, if the Oak was second, what was the first? - but this we do know, that the Dara symbolises the lving, giving and receiving oak, gifting acorns through the ages, for new saplings to grow.
As an afterthought, I wonder what the Celts would make of us cutting down their ancient oak trees, spliting up their symbol, untying the fine feathery threads that support life? ... and if you find yourself musing over why the Celts designed symbols to show what they cared about, think how we use symbols today. Where the Celts treasured nature above all things, in Western society, we treasure capital. Every shop, business, organisation sums itself up through a symbol, except now we call it a logo & my logo pledges my alliegience to the those who have been the treekeepers before us, who preserved these majestic beings so that we could bask in their beauty now, and forever.