Being the editor of a newsletter of a Celtic clan or family can be challenging.
Besides the problems of finding articles (especially submissions from clan membership) for publication, it is tough to make the newsletter appear Celtic.A Celtic appearance is very important to convey the unique cultural origin of the Celtic nations - Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Isle of Man and Brittany. And the best way to show that individuality is through art.
Celtic art is one of the beautiful treasures of antiquity. Good examples of this art form are found in the gospel books created in various monasteries such as Lindesfarne, Durrow and Kells.
These books were illuminated manuscripts with intricate pictures and writing. They infused Druidic symbols with Christianity.
For example, the spiral is the symbol of the thin line between Earth and the other world, which are so closely connected. Another variation of the spiral is called a "key pattern," which is intricate straight lines. The most famous Celtic art symbol is the intertwining knot - a single line that has no beginning or end, reminding the viewer about the immortal spirit.
The last category of art form is called zoommorphic, where plants, men and animals change form in the never-ending knot-work style, reminding the viewer that things are not as they appear to be.
But the problem with using these styles is that most of the work appears in copyrighted books. So most newsletter editors end up finding a scanner to put the few images not copyrighted into a computer. And if you want to create something different, it's cut and paste, Xerox, white-out and Xerox again, then scan.
Relief is here, Celtic newsletter editors! ProScribe, a Celtic CD-ROM with hundreds of clip-art images created by Andy Sloss and M Creative Technology of Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, England, solves the problem.
The program, which is available in both Mac, Windows 3.1 and Windows 95 versions, includes color and black-and-white files. The files are either EPS or TIF bitmap format, scanned at 300 dots per inch.
The CD-ROM includes a shareware graphics converter for use with programs that do not support EPS or TIF formats or that have trouble importing images into their publishing software.
Also included in ProScribe is a program called Knotwork, which lets you create your own Celtic knot designs. It also includes 528 clip-art knot designs you can use, including block and borders of tree-of-life art, human figures and dog and bird images.
ProScribe features six full interlacing intricate circles, 14 spirals, 10 roundals, 23 key patterns and four quarter and semi circles for use on page corners. There are key patterns, knots, a face, corners, a Celtic cross, four carpet styles and more.
But the best feature of ProScribe is the illuminated alphabet letters of beasts, plants and humans, which can be used as the first letter of a drop-in paragraph like those found in ancient books.
The capital letters come in four Celtic fonts: "Coran," a script found in the Lindisfarne and Wearmouth-Jarrow manuscripts of the 10th century; "Duncan," illuminated letters from the Books of Kells and Lindisfarne; "Jenner," based on the popular modern variations of Gaelic scripts; and "Sean," a tall, straight font found in the Book of Lindisfarne that is particularly good for titles.
Interest in all things Celtic is skyrocketing in the United States. There are 150 Scottish clans and 60 Irish clans across the country, with memberships that range from 50 to 5,000. And each society produces newsletters.
Understanding Celtic art and its symbolic meanings is key to understanding the Celtic heritage. ProScribe fills a void and has done so with excellent variety and styles. "ProScribe Go Bragh!! (ProScribe Forever)."