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Fractal Islamic Patterns

Over the past year (mid 2012 – mid 2013), my primary focus has been exploring the combination of traditional Islamic motifs with fractal patterns.  This has led to an entire family of art works – prominent in my portfolio – with many more in the pipeline. So, how are they made? The details of my methods for this are the subject of a paper I will be presenting at the Bridges Conference in July 2013, and are far too complicated  to detail here, but here are the basic ideas in a nutshell.

When I came back from my trip to India in spring of 2012, my starting point was the realization that I had pre-existing fractal arrangements of stars (drawn many years ago), and that these stars could be “placeholders” for star-like Islamic motifs. By methodically exploring these arrangements, I was able to create methods for (a) discovering fractal arrangements of stars, and (b) substituting and modifying Islamic star and rosette patterns to create a pattern that appears Islamic in nature but is fractal in nature. The method works with stars of different numbers of points (so far I’ve explored 6, 8, 10, and 12-pointed motifs), and for each type there are a number of different arrangements possible.

The best way to see this in action is simply to browse the portfolio. Keep your eye out for those motifs, and try counting the number of points to distinguish the 6-, 8-, 10-, and 12-fold patterns!

About Phil Webster

Phil Webster is a life-long geometry buff and sculptor. These days he is using emerging technologies like 3D printing to create designs that have been lurking in his head for years.

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