Sticks and Strings

Make illuminated letter designs from your name

Eadfrith uses words as pictures. The most important texts of the Lindisfarne Gospels are 'illuminated', the letter forms are used as visual designs as well as continuing to hold their literary meaning. Use letterforms to experiment with your own illuminated designs.

  • Draw out the initial letters of your name. Make one letter from straight lines ('the Stick') and the other from curved lines ('the String')
  • Experiment with combining the design in different ways to form knotwork patterns (see Sticks and Strings 1 image)
  • Draw out your stick and string again on thin card
  • Cut them out and weave the String around the Stick, under and over. Stick with glue
  • Place a piece of thin paper over the top of your Stick and String and scribble over it with a pencil to form a rubbing
  • By carefully positioning the paper you can produce interesting repeats. Try turning the Stick and String over to form a mirror image
  • Use the Stick and String as a template to draw around to experiment with more repeat ideas(see Sticks and and Strings 2 image)
  • Paint or apply ink to the Stick and String and use it as a printing block to print repeats


Knotwork pattern designs
Sticks and strings 1

Sticks and strings 1


Sticks and Strings 2 image
Sticks and Strings 2

Sticks and Strings 2


Text for Today

Make illuminated poetry from a newspaper story
The four Gospels are four different reports of an event. However, the story that they relate, the language that they use and the message they promote are so much more than mere journalism. By illuminating the Gospels Eadfrith takes things a stage further and converts words into art. Convert a piece of newspaper reportage into high art.

  • Select a story from a newspaper
  • Use scissors to cut out lines from the story. Cut up the lines into shorter phrases or single words
  • Experiment with re-forming the words and phrases in a different order. Try out different combinations of words and phrases. Think about how meanings can be changed by assembling words in different orders
  • When you are satisfied with the result find a large form of the initial letter of the opening word of your poem(see Captivated by Venus 1)
  • Collage your poem together onto scrap paper using glue
  • Write out the poem on different scraps of paper such as post-it notes, the backs of envelopes, lined or squared paper, tracing paper, clear plastic. Use your worst handwriting
  • Word process and or type your poem out on an old typewriter
  • Tear photographs from the newspaper. Try to find images that may have something vaguely to do with the words in your poem
  • Attach these scraps to your collaged poem using paper clips, staples or tape (see Captivated by Venus 2)
  • Photocopy the resulting collage a number of times. Produce it in a variety of scales by enlarging and reducing it
  • Tear up the photocopies and reassemble them again as a series of new collages in your Research Book. Scan the collage and print onto textured paper or onto clear plastic film (see Captivated by Venus 3)

Captivated by Venus 1
Captivated by Venus 1

Captivated by Venus 1


captivated by venus montage
Captivated by Venus 2

Captivated by Venus 2


Captivated by Venus 3 image
Captivated by Venus 3

Captivated by Venus 3