Posted tagged ‘Daud Sutton’

Not so quick update

April 26, 2010

As I imagined things are becoming quite manic now. There are deadlines and things to remember all over the place. But, alas, this is the way of anything that has a specific pressured end such as the project.

Now I have a couple of books I’d like to mention which I was supposed to have done some time ago. Actually one of them I might have already mentioned…but I’m not sure so I’ll mention it anyway (you know, just in case).

The first is ‘Polyhedron Models’ by Magnus J Wenninger. It  contains some very striking,  but kinda complicated models of…yep you guessed it – polyhedrons. For those who don’t know what these are have a look at some of the images below. They look a little similar to the model I made a while back (Icosahedron).

A polyhedron (plural polyhedra or polyhedrons) is a geometric solid in three dimensions with flat faces and straight edges.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyhedron

Page 21 from M J Wenninger's Polyedron Models

Page 21 from M J Wenninger's Polyedron Models

Polyhedron Models illustrates how the shapes look when flat and then once constructed to their full 3D form. However, I think most of these are beyond my capability to attempt (at the moment at least) but there are some simple ones at the beginning of the book and seem less scary as the associated mathematical formulas aren’t so daunting either. Not to mention some of the names. And you’ve just got to love some of the names – e.g. Quasirhombicuboctahedron which looks something like this:

Quasirhombicuboctahedron

Quasirhombicuboctahedron - from pg 132 of M J Wenninger's Polyheron Models

And the rhombitruncatedicosidodecahedron:

Rhombitruncatedicosidodecahedron

Rhombitruncatedicosidodecahedron - from pg 30 of M J Wenninger's Polyhedron Models

I did a search on the author and found some fascinating imagea of his coloured paper creations:

3D models of 4D polytopes

3D models of 4D polytopes - by Magnus J Wenninger

Polyhedron from set number 5 - by Magnus J Wenninger

Polyhedron from set number 5 - by Magnus J Wenninger. This one would probably look brilliant if carved from stone, although I can't imagine how it could be done.

Oh and it says on this site that he is a monk. I wonder how much that has played into or influenced his interest in this kind of geometry. Have a look at his web site for more stunning photographs and more on his writing too.

On to the second book. This one is ‘Geometric Concepts in Islamic Art’ by Issam El-Said and Ayșe Parman. Now I heard about this book some time ago but kinda forgot about it then realised it wasn’t newly available and then recently decided to just get a second-hand copy via the net. But it’s totally worth it. If I had this book maybe a yr and a half ago I think I might have done a lot more pattern work. It was Richard Henry (teacher for the pattern-making workshop) who recommended this book to me not so long ago and I can see that it is an immensely useful, practical and encouragingly inspiring one to have. Yes a lot of superlatives but they were all intentional.

Now Issam El-Said died at the age of 50 in 1988 before he was able to finish his PhD. But in the time that he was practising his art and already doing much research into the area of geometry he managed to create some beautiful pieces and publish very informative and educational writing. His work (both academic and artistic) is still valued today and this book is only one example.

Geometric Concepts in Islamic Art by Issam El-Said and Ayșe Parman

Geometric Concepts in Islamic Art by Issam El-Said and Ayșe Parman

Hardback cover of Geometric Concepts in Islamic Art

Hardback cover of Geometric Concepts in Islamic Art by Issam El-Said and Ayșe Parman

The cover itself (hardback version) has gold calligraphy on the front (under the paper cover) which is a nice touch. And then inside there are photographs of geometric patterns from real architectural sources around the world. Besides these photos are diagrams of how those patterns have been constructed. Like really simple ways to construct them!

Geometric Concepts in Islamic Art - pg 47

Page 47 from Geometric concepts in Islamic Art

Geometric Concepts in Islamic Art pg 91

Page 91 from Geometric Concepts in Islamic Art

I’ve realised that with some patterns there are a couple of ways to approach them, one being to create the foundation grid and build that up with a few layers of sub grids. This is mostly useful for when the grids might be used in multiple ways to create a pattern of maybe semi-regular tiling rather than just regular tiling. Well that’s the impression I got anyway. But the construction diagrams in this book cut a lot of the process out and show you how to get  to the final main pattern in the quickest way possible.

Unfortunately, I won’t have much time before the end of the project to try out more of these patterns.

Back to El-Said – here’s a link to web site (http://www.issam-el-said.co.uk/index2.html) in which you can read up about his history and achievements as well as find examples of his art work. Here’s one of my favourites (note the combination of Arabic calligraphy and geometry):

Allah, Mohammed (Hexagon) detail Limited edition etching 30x30cm by Issam El-Said

Allah, Mohammed (Hexagon) detail Limited edition etching 30x30cm by Issam El-Said. Image from: http://www.issam-el-said.co.uk/16253.html

Change of topic now. I’d like to mention the plug my work got on the Eastern Soul blog: http://www.easternsoul.net/2010/04/two-visual-artists-with-eastern-soul/ It’s nice to have your work appreciated 🙂

The Eastern Soul blog has been created in order to showcase artists and individuals involved in the creative arts who have added a bit of their own Eastern touch. There should be some interesting features on the blog in the coming months…

And finally on to my project developments. These aren’t going as fast as I’l like them to be. I’ve finished the pattern I was working on recently – it looks quite nice on paper and I’m about to move onto making a mirror card prototype of a sculpture using it (God willing). Here’s an image illustrating the stages of creating it:

various stages of creating 12 point star pattern using Daud Sutton's Islamic Design.

Various stages of creating a 12 point star pattern using an example from Daud Sutton's 'Islamic Design'.

I’m now trying to digitise this pattern but have faced a few errors and need to think of an alternative approach to my current one. However, I’ve been mucking about with what I have so far and for those of you who like a bit of colour:

Pat7_Splash courtesy of Sara Choudhrey :)

Pat7_Splash

And finally, we have the date for our symposium (in which all students have to do a 5 min presentation of their project) which is to be on May 5th.

The areas we have been told to cover include:

– Project overview
– Key developments during your time on the course
– Key contextual discoveries
– Post MA developments

I feel comfortable with the topics in general although the 3rd one might be a bit lengthy. We’ll need to include imagery and can either present in person or through a video/podcast. Unfortunately, I will be away the week it is due so will have less time to prepare it the way I would like to. I may have to stick to a good old powerpoint presentation – eww. Maybe I’ll try something in Flash. We’ll see.

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Patterning

March 9, 2009

I’m really disappointed because I’ve realised that I won’t be able to get my proto-type finished in time for my mid-point review. I think it would have received a really good reaction from my peers.

But I don’t even have time to dwell on it and have cracked on with things so that I have something half decent to show.

The point of the mid-point review is for my peers and tutor to see where I am so far and as this is taking the form of a group crit (much like the one the full-timers had last month – see earlier post) it means that they need to try and understand what I present to them without me having to explain anything. But even if they completely misunderstand it help me development and amend where I’m going with the work so that I can head it in the right direction from then on.

As I’ve been exploring the traditional methods for producing Islamic geometric patterns (which is a new practice to me) I am quite proud of where I’ve got to so far – but will anyone else seeing it for the first time appreciate the result of my hard work? Also, would they need to have an interest in this area in the first place to then appreciate this type of art?

What will be most annoying is that these examples I will show are just on paper/card. And I wanted something digital and interactive at this stage. Honestly, it would have been way ahead of the game for me to have something ready at this point of the course that was a working prototype of an interactive work but it would have been cool because at least the rest of the students would understand where I was going with this. Anyway, I have faith that they will ‘think/look outside the box’, so to speak, in regards to my work – whether they like it or not.

In the above gallery are images of the stages I went through to get to the last piece which is a large hexagon broken down into further hexagons, triangles and circles to produce a geometric pattern.

You will notice that I go back and forth with the first grid designs and this is because I did soo many sheets, and at some stage or another I would realise that I had made a mistake and would need to start over. The grids or patterns wouldn’t look wrong and wouldn’t necessarily be wrong in themselves but I was trying to follow a particular strategy as laid out in an example from Daud Sutton’s book ‘Islamic Design: A Genius for Geometry’. I wanted to follow this to a ‘T’ up to a certain stage. So until I got to that stage – if everything wasn’t exactly like he’d shown then it would be wrong.

After producing the ‘grid’ and formations of hexagons within circles I then photocopied the sheets so that I could develop the patterns within the grid further. This was the stage where I would finish copying the book and start my own additions in patterns. If I ruined these photocopies I would still have the original larger grid to go back to. After deciding on the main hexagons (one large and one small) to break down further I then inked the designs on to another photocopy. I then photocopied this (yeh I know – there are trees out there waiting for revenge) so that I could cut out the main shapes within these bigger shapes. The handy thing about the cut-out template is that I can then put the shapes together on a large plain sheet of paper which has no grid and the hexagons fit together as they are already proportioned correctly, the grid would therefore be invisible.

I like the effect of light coming through these cut-outs. This is why I would love to experiment with light and how it could be used in an interactive way at some stage of my project.

This is where I moved on to the large A3 black card and started drawing out the very large hexagon made up of smaller hexagons and filled these in with the designs from the templates I had cut. Then after filling in all the parts I was left with the final design (below) which I am quite happy with – it looks much better in reality as the pencil shimmers with light and is a great contrast to the black card.

pencil on black card

Tonight I plan to turn this in to another template and have further uses for it – so watch this space 🙂

To infinity and beyond

January 25, 2009

In response to my previous post I would like to quote a section from page 6 of Daud Sutton’s book ‘Islamic Design – A Genius for Geometry’ (yes, I found the book!!) which addresses the subject of infinity as represented in Islamic patterns:

“Conceptually a repeating pattern can continue forever, but in practical applications Islamic patterns are generally cropped to form rectangular sections with corners in the centre of key pieces, often stars. Framing a pattern this way maintains a geometric elegance at the same time is clearly implying that it could repeat indefinitely, as it were, under it’s borders – the perfect visual solution to calling to mind the idea of infinity, and hence the Infinite, without any pretence of being able to truly capture such an enigmatic concept visually.

This framing also usually gives a single central piece which ensures that the total number in the rectangle is odd – a numerical quality traditionally said to invoke, and find favour with, Divine Unity.”

Well I have to say that makes sense to me. But I have a feeling there may be differing views on this so will have to look into it further.

Eye of the Tiger

January 11, 2009

I hope my titles are not misleading people to view my posts for the wrong reasons lol – I just like to make them a little interesting.

Ok so Mission started and partly accomplished. I said I wouldn’t post anything until I had created some patterns and well I can’t say I finished a whole pattern but I spent at least a couple hours just doing the base work for one.

I’m quite surprised that it took as long as it did actually – just to create the grid. I took photos using my mobile (my proper camera is somewhere in a box, somewhere in my dishevelled house) so they’re not that great but the aim was to document the process.

The bare necessities

The bare necessities

Ok so I was using large (A3) squared paper so that I would be able to keep my straight lines accurate.
I used 5cm as my radius and started drawing circles from the centre of the page outwards. This method has been demonstrated in Islamic Design: A Genius for Geometry by Daud Sutton, and is supposed to be the traditional approach to creating Islamic geometric patterns. If you’ve read my Project justification then you’ll know why this is important to me. As it isn’t my usual method I thought I’d give it a go and see where it takes me.

Ok so the circles start overlapping as seen below:

circles overlapping but spreading too

circles overlapping but spreading too

I then carried on until I had filled the whole page with the circles:

picture-033

As you can see this has created a tessellated effect simply with the construction of circles. After this I wasn’t quite sure what I needed to do next. I misplaced my book 😦 and so I played it by ear – well tried to remember what I had read in the book anyway. As I’ve said before I havn’t got access to my stuff.

So then I started connecting the mid points of each circle – creating horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines – a sub grid.

This produced another set of shapes on the sub grid of lines not just the circles. I’m not sure that the vertical lines were correct but it looked ok so I carried on:

Adding lines

Adding lines

I looked closely at the page (which was a bit mesmerising) and picked out shapes that I liked the look of. I usually do this in the creation of my pattern work. Breaking down shapes using lines and particular measurements and then seeing what new shapes are created. In the close up below you can see some of these smaller shapes within shapes which were created simply by the addition of the straight lines. I would now need to consider which shapes I would choose to highlight and use in the pattern and which ones would perhaps form a subtle background to the main pattern.

The shapes!

The shapes

Ok so I think this process was useful. The main thing that I found difficult was the accuracy! Even though I made sure the compass stayed at the same radius throughout, and that the connecting lines and dots and movement from one circle to another was the right place, there were still wider spaces between shapes than there should have been. The most annoying thing I found was the compass kept slipping!!! this was highly irritating and meant I had to rub out bits here and there.

But it’s been a learning process and I need to do this a lot more so I know how to neaten up my grids and start doing different kinds of patterns. I am really looking forward to the next stages of these experiments.

Now I really need to find that book!!