Thursday, March 14, 2013

Making Whole: Healing Through Art: Celtic Cross

by Diane Steinbach

Making Whole is a bi-monthly art therapy column focused on art to heal. 

With St. Patrick's Day being this weekend, I cannot ignore the obvious holiday inspired art process. I will spare you the Shamrock drawing, but will instead take a cue from St. Patrick himself and set our minds on the Celtic Cross.

St. Patrick is said to have designed the Celtic Cross himself.  An artist of any faith cannot deny the intricate design pattern is a beautiful example of complexity and detail. The pattern in the Celtic Cross is a continuous, connected line. Creating a pattern like this yourself would be a difficult task to be sure.

Instead, I would like to invite you to use the  square Celtic cross pattern as your foundation and fill it in with a linear pattern, abstract and detailed, use the creation of the pattern as a means of meditation. 

On an 8x8" piece of drawing paper, draw a circle. Then, draw the basic "+" pattern in the center, giving you a interior cross surface to draw into. (as similar to in the image at the top of the post.) 

Take a fine point black sharpie marker, and begin to draw a design in the interior of the cross.

Lose yourself in the creation of it. Much like a doodle, let your mind wander as you fill in the cross pattern with angles, or the repeated swirls or waves you might create.  The joy of this project is in the creation of it, in the nearly hypnotic creation of pattern and line within the borders, not necessarily the completed project.  

While you work, let your mind clear of all worrisome thoughts. Think only of the security and comfort of the lines within the borders, of the flow of the ink on the paper.  Add as much detail as you want, use as much time as you desire.

Much like working within a Mandala, the process itself is the path to healing, it is giving the mind and body a chance to relax, to heal, to clear and de-stress, within certain parameters that give it permission to do so. 


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Diane Steinbach is an art therapist and the author of: Art As Therapy: Innovations, Inspiration and Ideas:, Art Activities for Groups: Providing Therapy, Fun and Function and A Practical Guide to Art Therapy Groups


  1. Hi! I'm visiting from Friendship Friday :-) I hope you'll also join me for my Friday Flash Blog on The Jenny Evolution ( Happy weekend!

  2. Stopping by from the Friendship Friday. Thanks for reading my blog. I really appreciate it:). Alice @ The Owl's Skull

  3. It sounds as if it would very therapeutic to draw the Celtic Cross and feel the body relaxing as you draw. I like that!

    I found you on Friendship Friday!

  4. Great post Diane! Joining from Inspire Me Monday -

  5. What a great exercise! Thanks for stopping by my blog!


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