Natural Sequences and Proportions

Beweave It!

June 9, 2010

If you're looking for weaving inspiration, there's no better source than Mother Nature herself: the Fibonacci sequence, the Golden Ratio, and other natural sequences and proportions have been used by artisans, architects, and artists from the Greeks to Jackson Pollock. The Fibonacci sequence was well known in ancient India, and was described to the West by Leonardo of Pisa (aka, Fibonacci) when he used it to model the growth of a population of rabbits. It also describes branching in trees, arrangement of leaves on a stem, an uncurling fern, and the arrangement of a pine cone.

Fractals are another natural pattern that could be applied to weaving in interesting ways. According to Wikipedia, "A fractal is 'a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a reduced-size copy of the whole," a property called "self-similarity.' " Nature is full of fractals. They appear in clouds, snow flakes, lightning, networks of rivers or blood vessels, and plants big and small.

These sequences can be modelled on computers and on looms. For a beautiful and thought-provoking example of computer modelling, check out the video Nature by Numbers, created by artist and programmer Cristóbal Vila.

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