I had a fun newsletter planned for one of my favorite days of the year…
If you know me or have followed my art for a while, you know that I’m a bit of a Celtophile, and every year I get a chance to, I make a piece of art to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day and Celtic heritage.
I already designed a shamrock tangle (pictured top) as a printable for some of my Patreon supporters that symbolizes integration of nature and religious structure. There’s a lot to unpack there, but I’ll leave that up to you. I’ll just say that there were never any actual snakes in Ireland from the start, and that the Irish people have struggled to maintain their identity in the face of massive challenges throughout the centuries.
This year, I set up my iPad to record a time lapse video of me drawing and inking a Celtic harp design that would be a sort of “how to”, or at least fun to watch.
After a few initial materials and equipment and failures, I discovered my attempts were ultimately thwarted by the huge amounts of memory being used by the stored podcasts. (I listen to an inordinate amount of history and blog talk radio casts.)
So, after purging my iPad of old podcasts the cloud had synced without me realizing it, I was pretty exasperated and decided to just mess around with paint and put the device away.
(I sent out a special code to my Etsy shop instead. You can subscribe on the side of my page.)
The harp is based on the celtic harp that resides on the Coat of Arms of Ireland, which is a gold harp on a blue background.
So instead of the (now) traditional green, I decided to go with blue. There were some pretty interesting watermarks that spoke to me, and I implied the outline of the Emerald Isle in the azure sea behind the harp.
Funny how stuff works out after technical failures in the wee hours, huh?
Did you know that the color originally associated with Saint Patrick was blue?
Wearing too much green was actually considering unlucky in Irish folklore, as it was thought to entice and antagonize the Sídhe.
Green was eventually adopted as the color to represent the “Emerald Isle”, and now represents the Irish Catholic and heritage element of the holiday. (Side note~ Some wear orange on Saint Patrick’s day to show protestant faith and British loyalty. No comment… )
Saint Patrick’s Day was also a religious holiday, which made it a dry holiday in Ireland until the 1970s.
Up until then, pubs would close to help the devout stay solemn during the holy day.
Ireland didn’t even promote tourism during Saint Patrick’s Day until the 1990s!
I could go on all day about this stuff, but I know you’re busy, and I don’t want to bore you.
Just remember that today is about so much more than green beer and stereotypes.
The Irish are amazing people with a riveting history, and the United States would not be what it is today without them.
Seriously, there are over 33 million Americans of Irish heritage. Ireland’s population is just 6.4 million.
I know I wouldn’t be who I am today and my life would be very different without the Irish,
and chances are yours would, too.
“I have never had a vote, and I have raised hell all over this country. You don’t need a vote to raise hell! You need convictions and a voice!”
~Mary Harris “Mother” Jones