Additional Math Pages & Resources

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Non-Fearful Symmetry

I like symmetry. I don't really understand the poetry by William Blake that states:

Tiger, tiger, burning bright 
In the forests of the night, 
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

I like looking at symmetrical objects and designs. Here are a few I found in searching around the web. There's a lot of math involved in the creation of these designs, if the artist wants to be consistent. He must count or measure, or fold the paper to ensure the designs remain symmetrical.

This drawing reminds me of a wall tile, and it's also similar to a kaleidoscope (click here to read about them). It's horizontally, vertically, and diagonally symmetrical, within limits due to how it was drawn.

Here's a Celtic design with 3-way symmetry. It could have been more carefully drawn to make it perfectly "foldable" along these lines, but that's ok. I like it anyway. It looks like a fancy drinks coaster to me.

This rug has pairs of flowers across the center (so you could fold it along either line and have symmetry) but it is not identical in both axis.

This rug does not have symmetry in both directions - you can see some flowers in the middle that aren't replicated across a horizontal center line.

We teach symmetry in elementary math. Thankfully. I use math constantly when I size the artwork, rotate it to the proper position, overlay colored lines, and export with a transparent background in a web-friendly format.

For a symmetry math worksheet and symmetry teaching suggestions, read our previous post: Valentine Symmetry and visit the Excel Math Manipulatives page on our website:

Here's one more for you, a textile design based on traditional Polish paper cutting.

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