Thursday, January 26, 2017

pARTicipate: Theora Tessellations

New Year, new pARTicipate Wall! Last week, we were happy to share all the great work visitors created last fall, and we are excited to see what our visitors will come up in the first part of 2017.

New pARTicipate Wall waiting for excited visitors to come and decorate it!

The new pARTicipate Wall prompt was inspired by Theora Hamblett's Blue Planes, 1966. While many people are familiar with her Childhood Games and Old Home Memory paintings, Theora also painted her Dreams and Visions. When she broke her hip in 1954, she believed an angel visited her on the operating table. She begged him to ask God to help her get better, and, in return, she would paint her dreams and visions as a testament to her faith. The paintings often include angels and biblical themes, but also included her family members who had passed away.

Blue Planes, 1966
Theora Hamblett (b. 1895, d 1977)

In Blue Planes, 1966, Theora's repetition of squares has a special name; it is a tessellation. Tessellations are patterns of repeated shapes with no overlap or space between the shapes. Natural patterns like honeycombs, turtle shells, and fish scales are all kinds of tessellation. Ancient Greeks and Romans decorated their houses with tessellation mosaics of square tiles over 2000 years ago. Can you think of any other kinds of tessellations we see in our daily life?

Perhaps the most famous artist to use tessellations was the artist M.C. Escher. Born in 1898, he was a Dutch artist who enjoyed making "impossible constructions". Using a combination of wood prints, lithographs, and pen and ink, he made incredible transforming tessellations.

Click to see birds become bees, bees become butterflies, butterflies become birds, birds become fish and so much more! 

We want to make sure that everyone, near or far, has an opportunity to pARTicipate! Visit the museum or download our prompt. Follow the instructions below to make your own tessellations then share your creations @UMmuseum on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to let us know #IpARTicipated!

Need some more help making tessellations? Here are the websites that inspired the intermediate and challenge instructions!

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