Was math your favorite subject in school?
Now I don’t think there are too many people who would give me an affirmative answer to that.
And yet, those individuals do exist. The ones that enjoy multiplying large sums in their heads, carry calculators everywhere they go and break down images into isosceles triangles.
Or worse, those who decide to go on to become math teachers.
I particularly disliked those teachers who thought math could be fun.
I’m sorry, but this is no joke. This is World War II happening all over again. In my brain.
And it ain’t looking good!
But too late; off they went into their little imaginary world where Pi plays the ukulele and vectors square dance. Or whatever they do over there in that parallel mathematical universe. Well I bet it’s all laughs and giggles.
What kind of tree could a math teacher climb? Geometry.
No, don’t worry, it’s not just you; it is in fact a terrible joke.
Like, really bad.
Do you reckon math teachers tell each other these jokes all throughout recess?
What did the triangle say to the circle? You’re pointless.
Yeah, I know something else that’s pointless! …
Now you see, I have had several math teachers in my lifetime, one worse than the other. But there was one in particular… Just thinking about him makes me shiver. And I can’t even remember his name!
That’s how bad I wanted to forget.
But I can’t, so thanks for that.
The one thing I did kind of enjoy, however, was geometry. I guess because I could kind of pretend to be in arts class.
I got out my fancy rulers and assortment of pencils, all sharp and ready to go, and started scribbling. I don’t quite recall whether I actually learned anything during these drawing lessons, but at least my brain had come to a temporary truce.
I do also have a deep appreciation for abstract art which is often based on the simple arrangement of geometric forms, so I guess it might have actually done something to me…
It really is fascinating to me how the simplest of art can be created by applying a few two-dimensional shapes onto a canvas, and simultaneously, how very intricate art can be made through the very same technique.
Below, I have listed a few art works that have accompanied me throughout my school years and beyond.
Mandora, Georges Braque 1909-1910
The Mandolin Player, Pablo Picasso 1911
Gray Tree, Piet Mondrian 1912
The Knifegrinder, Kazimir Malevich 1912
Woman in Blue (Study for), Fernand Léger 1912
Electric Prisms, Sonia Delaunay 1914
Sea = Dancer (Mare= Ballerina), Gino Severini 1914
Composition VIII, Wassily Kandinsky 1923
Composition No. 10, Piet Mondrian 1939-1942
For a long time now I’ve wanted to create my own geometry-inspired art work, so here it is: My very own Matterhorn made from a canvas and a piece of string.
Why the Matterhorn you might ask? Because I am a fan, simple as that. My family and I have been visiting the impressive landmark and its surrounding brothers and sisters for many years now and it never ceases to amaze. My last Switzerland-visit was in summer 2014; you can read about it here.
So for this project, I printed out a few pictures as references and drew a smaller version of the Matterhorn on a scrap piece of paper. I also added a frame with the same ratio as my canvas so I could figure out the correct placement of the image within the frame/ canvas:
My canvas was 120 x 80cm, so I made sure my drawing fit into a 12 x 8cm frame.
I then added a 1 x 1cm grid onto the drawing which translated to a 10 x10cm grid on the canvas. I didn’t draw directly onto the canvas however. Instead, I loosely taped pieces of white paper one right next to the other and fixated the enormous resulting sheet over the canvas.
I then transferred the smaller image onto the larger sheet by using the grid as a guideline, trying to be as accurate as possible.
At each point at which two lines met, I then punched a hole into the canvas with a push pin. That way, after removing the big sheet of paper(s), I had guidelines as to where each line needed to start and end.
I then threaded a very long piece of black yarn onto the biggest sewing needle I could find (patience is key here) and started by threading through the back of the canvas through the very first punched hole on one side of the canvas (I started on the left and worked my way to the right side of the image). I then went back through the canvas, making sure not to thread back through the same punched hole, but to create a new one right next to it, and back up through the second punched hole.
Once I reached the last punched hole, I had created the outline of the beautiful Matterhorn.
With another long (!) piece of yarn I then started adding random lines going up and down and through the punched holes. I really didn't have a system. This is how I added the fun geometric shapes. As you can see, I added the lines to only one side of the mountain so as to avoid losing the image in a hot triangular mess.
The end result looks really quite nice with my black and white themed office space. I did also go back a few times to add a few more lines here and there. While I didn’t want to overdo it, it did take me a few more punches until I was satisfied. I guess that is the beauty of the project, you can’t really get it wrong, you just kind of go crazy!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- push pin
- black yarn
- big sewing needle
What did one geometry book say to the other? Don't bother me I've got my own problems!
In C, Terry Riley
Spiegel im Spiegel, Arvo Pärt
The Unanswered Question, Charles Ives