Patterncraft: The "Why?" of Tessellate

Handcrafted patterns in fibre.

Handcrafted patterns in fibre.

Hello world!

Thank you for stopping by Tessellate! I wanted to give this thing a go because I love making and shaping things, and sharing them with others.

But why Tessellate? Aside from delighting in the process of creating, why did I settle on needlecraft, landscape and permaculture as my chosen forms of self expression? How are they even related?

The simple answer is that I like patterns.

I like designing patterns. I like learning from patterns. I like looking for patterns in unexpected places. And permaculture, landscape design and needlecraft are all about finding, perceiving and translating patterns into tangible things.

I didn't always like patterns. Patterns used to be the kinds of things that showed up in math problems. Patterns were predictable. They were the furthest thing from unrestricted creativity, and I was all about colouring outside of the lines. As a kid, I spent endless hours doodling in notebooks, splattering paint my clothing, and dreaming up video game characters with lengthy and epic backstories. My art was about whatever popped into my mind that moment; I could hardly be bothered with organizing it. Patterns didn't even enter the picture.

A little artist hard at work.

A little artist hard at work.

My developing flair for creativity eventually found its way outdoors. I discovered the art of cultivating a garden and dove into my newfound passion headfirst. My doodles turned into plant placement plots, my paint splatters turned to grass stains, and my fictional characters became trowel-wielding super beings who could grow tomatoes to maturity through six months of rain.

Somewhere along the way, I began noticing little, naturally occurring repetitions in my garden. First was the elaborate, perfect beauty of a blooming dahlia, then, a foxglove dropping its flowers in an upward spiral. And then how seeds somehow managed to sort themselves in a torus around an apple core, and the consistent fashion that veins scatter themselves along the underside of a kale leaf. Patterns upon patterns, everywhere! Beyond the act of growing things, I became obsessed with nature’s strange regularities. How do the forces-that-be create such detailed, geometric forms? Why?

Nature’s perfect, calculated beauty in a  Jitterbug  dahlia.

Nature’s perfect, calculated beauty in a Jitterbug dahlia.

Humans have been noticing organic patterns and subsequently asking these same questions for a long time. Artists, philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians have sought to provide answers through theories and approximations, relating natural forms to predictable, defined calculations. As D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson so eloquently wrote in his 1917 work On Growth and Form;

The harmony of the world is made manifest in form and number, and the heart and soul and all the poetry of Natural Philosophy are embodied in the concept of mathematical beauty.

The studies of Thompson and other pattern-reading pioneers have paved the way to our modern understanding of organic geometry in the natural world. Slowly, I came to my own understanding that the act of creation did not stand entirely above to the laws of logic. Nor did patterns exist as entirely predictable, unimaginative math problems. The living things in my backyard proved beyond doubt that these elements could coexist in harmony.

My creations, like patterns found in the organic environment are based on wonderful, tactile and tangible equations. Both in fibre and flora, my designs feature symmetry, fractals, spirals and tessellations, reflecting my fascination with all of nature’s greatest intricacies.

I hope you find some things here that you enjoy, and perhaps inspire you to seek out those subtle patterns in your own surroundings.

Traci Bee

Traci BergComment