The Mathematician As Artist, 2019 Edition

It’s Winterim again at Harpeth Hall School. This three-week interval between semesters is an opportunity for teachers and students to enjoy an alternative curriculum and pursue topics that are not often taught in a traditional course.

This year I am once again teaching my Mathematician As Artist course. We began by creating art using only a straight-edge and compass. These designs were based on a process pioneered by Dearing Wang:

Next, we constructed Voronoi Diagrams by hand. Here’s an excellent tutorial on the process. In a Voronoi Diagram, each color represents all the points that are closest to the node (the black point) within that color.

Our latest project involved using Chaoscope to create fractals. It’s an easy program for a beginner, but there are endless options for more advanced users. Here are the students’ pieces:

I will do a separate post for my students’ final projects – stained-glass windows!


The Mathematician As Artist

For this year’s Winterim (a three-week period between semesters when Harpeth Hall offers an alternative curriculum), I am teaching a new course: The Mathematician As Artist. I’ve already asked our library to purchase a copy of Lynn Gamwell’s new book, Mathematics and ArtGamwell Math and Art

My plan is to begin with the most basic tools, i.e. straightedge and compass, and work our way up to computer-generated art. Ideally, I’d like to have my students use the Processing language to code their own original works. Along the way, we’ll use TinkerCad to design sculpture that we’ll print out in Harpeth Hall’s Design Den.

For the straightedge and compass art, I’ve discovered a fantastic resource: Dearing Wang. He has an YouTube channel with lots of instructional videos for creating intricate designs with only those two tools. I’ve worked through four of them, and they are a lot of fun:

3 Fish In A Pond Octagon Zoom 5 Circle Mandala Geometric Eye

As the course develops, I’ll post updates on the lessons.