Several of my cloak clasps are of the Penannular design: a fastening brooch used by the Scotts in their traditional wear. Typically, the style I have been creating is for the Ladies, the Lads use a circle with what looks like a decorative hat pin or small thin dagger to fasten their clothing. This technique of fastening their garments served in several ways: one was to hold their Great Kilts together; another was to give them a last ditch should they be faced with opposition. Hence the old saying: “If a Scott is wearing clothes, he is armed”.
Unlike the mens brooch, the more genteel Penannular had the pin as well, yet it is solidly attached to the frame: usually a horse shoe in shape. This allows for the clasp to be more versatile and provide the user with the ability to keep all of the components together.
The more traditional ornamentation is knotwork, a style of decoration used among the Celts to illuminate the piece. Styles of knotwork range from the classic shapes from the Book of Kells to the bizarre Zoomorphic styles that incorporate animals and sometimes people into the knots. In the more shamanic versions the knot was not a repeated pattern but a somewhat free formed shape but had to be all one strand. Thus the person who gazed upon it could follow the strand from “beginning to the end” and they would wind back where they started.
In the creation of the Knotted Penannular I blend the classic shapes of the old style Ladies’ Penannular and the shamanistic style of knotwork, yet conforming to the regular shape forced a more repeated pattern. The over all result is a period piece for the medieval and renaissance fairs rather than fantasy art. Each of the Penannulars I make are for the heavy cloaks: stout pins and solid frames for years of wear. This would do well on a jacket, too. I would recommend for the more mainstream garments you use button holes for the pin.
It’s cold! Break out the big warm cloaks! This clasp will help keep your warm!
The Flaming Knot Cloak Clasp is composed of two bold panels of knot work, each made of a single strand forming many tongues of flame, interlocking, twisting and spraying out like wings.
Much like the construction of the Double Song cloak clasp I have placed behind the knot work three loops at the tips of the flames to stitch into your cloak, cape, jacket or coat. Clasping them together at the center are two stout hooks to lock into the eyelets on the opposing side.
The Flaming Knot Cloak Clasp
In bronze it hold a warm glow, in sterling silver it shines like cold flames. This is a bold clasp: 2 inches high and four inches wide when clasped together; and when opened they hang “straight” because of the placing of the stitch loops.
Close your cape with a clasp of fire over your heart.
I met my friend Kevin in the late 80s. Among his many talents, he creates Knotwork designs. Kevin typically creates very complex, free form knots and then tools them into leather for his garb for the Society of Creative Anarchisms (SCA) of which he is a part.
Unlike the typical border work of a more standard, symmetrical knot, Kevin’s style is to create broad sweeps and then tiny inter-weavings to populate a design or free form shape. Creating knots of one, two and three strands, depending on the use of the knot and can become very complex because you are not using any formulas or pre-made patterns.
I had asked him to design a cross for me and he smiled. “I will design this knot and teach you how it is done so long as we call the amulet: “Joy”, for my friend” he told me. He had not seen her in years yet wanted to dedicate the design to her.
He drew it in one sitting: smiling the entire time. It is an eternal knot: one strand from beginning to end forming the cross with the circle of spirit in the center: the “Empty Cross” (He is Risen) design. Though Catholic: “she won’t mind” he told me; “Think of it as a compromise.” Kevin isn’t Christian!
And so I present to you a cross dedicated to friendship and Joy.