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String Art

The image above is a rough prototype of some string art I created using some Erector pieces and yarn.


String art is a process in which one forms a pieces of complex mathematical art through use of many simple, straight line segments. I've always admired the concept that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and I think string art exemplifies this philosophy, both physically and in the processes through which it is created.


I first encountered the basic concepts of string art through something called curve stitching, which is process of creating a smooth curve with many(infinite) straight lines. I was enamored with this idea since I have poor drawing skills and this was a cool way to draw nice curves with just a ruler and some graph paper. All throughout middle school I doodled these images, know as quadratic Bézier Curves, but I eventually stopped as school got harder and I needed to pay more attention.


I was first reintroduced to these ideas through the form of string art in my sophomore year. There was a mandatory class I had to take in which we had to reproduce an artwork. What my group choose was a piece by Gabriel Dawe called Plexus no. 29. While we didn't actually recreate the piece we did successfully make some string art. In fact I think I gained a lot from the experience, our group was able to complete a total of three pieces while most groups didn't even finish a single one. I believe our success came from the fact that in our group everyone knew what their job was and carried it out efficiently, just like how each string carries out its purpose without interfering with other strings.


All in all, I gained a lot from the experience, both mathematically and socially. In fact I enjoyed it so much I convinced my group to independently propose another string art project which is currently in the works!