Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Not so Golden Seashell Spirals

I learned something this weekend...

I learned that if you are trying to draw that spiral in the nautical seashell you cannot do it by using the golden proportions. I am designing a tapestry with a nautical sea shell overlapping a golden spiral which spirals into a planet. I always thought the spiral in that shell was a golden spiral but turns out it is a logarithmic spiral. It does make a difference when trying to draw it.

I must have done four or five drawings of the spiral with my ruler and compass. I figured it was coming out poorly since I was not exact enough. When using a pencil with a ruler & compass the results are subject to error - sometimes significant. That was something I learned in my Coastal Navigation classes. If you want a good chance to get where you want to go don't be sloppy with the plotting pencil. This weekend, no matter how careful I was, my drawing always turned out poorly - the spiral would never spiral in enough.

Now I know I need to draw the seashell spiral logarithmically in order for it to spiral enough to look like a shell. If you can see the difference between the two spirals and learn more check out this article by John Sharp called Spirals and the Golden Section.

I will post a photo of my design when I finish the cartoon. It will be 32 wide - the loom is already warped. Not quite sure how long it will be - probably about 4 feet. But perhaps longer...

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

What's on my Baby Shannock?

On my small shannock I am weaving an image of a photo I took from the Syndey zoo.

It's upside down since that is the way I am weaving it - this allows my brain to stop analyzing every little thing and allows me to weave more smoothly. In addition, I am weaving from the back - another way to avoid tinkering too much.

The photo is black and white...the actual tapestry is not. I will post in color when it is completely done. It's a study in values and perceptions. Must an orange be orange?

The piece will be 14 by 18 inches and is done at 12 epi using double wefts of silk. The small sett implies a lot of work for a little coverage. But it is going well. I am about half done and should finish by the end of the month.