Sunday, May 8, 2011

Newgrange Art Yarn

In September 2009, my husband and I went to Ireland for our honeymoon. Some of you might remember that I study archaeology, so you won't be surprised by my I really wanting to visit some of the archaeological monuments. We went to Boyne Valley in order to visit some of the sites there. There's Dowth, which I knew from a previous visit - it's just a hill with a fenced-off entrance, but still nice and somehow peaceful. Since there's not that much to see, there are not many tourists there, or at least there weren't when I visited the site in 2007. We didn't go there this time, though, but decided to visit only the monuments I hadn't seen yet. There's Knowth and Newgrange. You have to book a tour in order to be able to enter the Newgrange chamber, so we did.
We had to use the bus, though we'd much rather walked there, but that was not possible with the tour (strict time table). It was worth it, though. I knew both Knowth and Newgrange from books, pictures and seminars, and I was so eager to finally go and visit them. I loved being there, and the Newgrange chamber is really impressive, as are the Knowth tombs (though they were enforced with concrete after the excavations). The fassade of the Newgrange passage tomb was reconstructed after the excavation, there's no evidence of it ever having looked like this, but it's still impressive - and it's also impressively visible from quite a distance. The vaulted roof of the chamber itself is still intact, which is absolutely stunning - just think about the fact that it's still airtight after about 5000 years!

All of the sites are very important when it comes to megalithic art. There's all sorts of abstract forms, the spiral being quite prominent among other forms.

There's a lot of esoteric interpretation going on about all the sites in Boyne Valley, and I can't really get into all that here - but if you'd like to read up on any of the monuments, just keep in mind that not every "fact" is really a fact, but some of the conclusions and so called evidence could be challenged.

The other day, I thought back on our wonderful honeymoon and the Boyne Valley, and I decided to spin a Newgrange art yarn. I spent over an hour with stubborn brass wire and - with time, effort, and admittedly some swearing - I made 12 beautiful brass spirals to spin into the yarn. My hands ached afterwards (the wire was thicker than the one I previously worked with), but I love the outcome. Each of the spirals is not only hand bent, but also hammered flat.  
I also decided on beautiful shell/mother of pearl beads as add-ins, since people in the stone age used (a specific kind of) shells as ornaments and jewelry. The brass spirals are not authentic in any way, the people of the neolithic period (new stone age) didn't have brass or gold, but I thought it would look wonderful with the white and green fibres, and I really wanted the spirals since they are so prominent among the megalithic art :-)

But enough talk now - have a look at the yarn! :-)

I spun the yarn from white lambs wool, merino wool of different shades of green, bamboo flakes, and bright green linen. Then there's the beads and spirals, of course, and green sewing thread to carry them all.
157 m / 99 g, about 9-14 WPI.


  1. Woah, that's poetry in motion!

    Living in Ireland and having been at Newgrange, I love love love this!!!

  2. Thank you so much!
    I have to admit, since I wrote the post and looked at our honeymoon pictures again, I am seriously LONGING to go to Ireland again *sigh*

  3. Oh wow, this is my new favourite :-)
    And so great pictures - I think I need some holiday.

  4. another one living in ireland:)) and I like the yarn a lot - thank you for not calling it 40 shades of green (the ultimate clichee about ireland:)) the spirals look great in the yarn - do you have to heat the wire to hammer it flat like that?

  5. The spirals caught my eye. I've been working on Calder Style pins and I know exactly what you mean. What you've done here is beautiful. Very creative.



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