M. C. Escher – Tessellations

M.C. Escher was known for the “impossible structures” shown in his art. An example of this can be seen in Relativity. Look at this picture. Try to figure out which way the people are walking. Can you do it?

He was also considered the ‘Father’ of modern tessellations. A tessellation is composed of a picture or tiles, mostly in the form of animals, which cover the surface of a plane in a symmetrical way without overlapping or leaving gaps. That’s a pretty complicated definition for something that looks like it is made out of interlocking puzzle pieces! Escher 49 is an example of a tessellation.

Escher 49

Escher’s art is filled with mathematical relationships between shapes, figures and space. He even wrote papers on math later in his life. Amazing since, as a child, he didn’t do well in math class!

Try this tessellation art project at home-

Supplies-

Index card
Large sheet of white paper
Pencil
Scissors
Scotch tape
Black marker
Crayons, color pencils or paints

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Instructions-

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1) With your pencil draw a line from left to right across the index card. The line can be straight or squiggly. (Figure 1)

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2) Draw a line from top to bottom on the index card. Again, the line can be straight or squiggly. (Figure 2)

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3) With scissors, cut along the lines. You should end up with 4 pieces. (Figure 3)

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4) Rotate the pieces so the outer corners (corners marked x on the diagram) touch. Tape the shapes together. Now you have created a stencil for your tessellation. (Figure 4)

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tesselations_figure55) Look at the shape you created. What does it look like? Does it look like a flower, a turtle or maybe a frog? Decide what it is going to be. You will be coloring it in later. We decided that the shape in our example would be a flower. (Figure 5)

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6) On your large piece of paper, use the stencil to create a repeating pattern. If you did the stencil correctly, your outlines should fit together like a puzzle.  (Figure 6)

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tessellations_figure77) Use your crayons, color pencils or paints to color in each of your objects. Alternate colors to create a really cool pattern. (Figure 7)