There are an endless amount of hidden lines to imagine when you think of how the world is connected. You can pin point perspective lines from the scenes in front of you or imagine the vectors directing the movement around you. In the past few weeks, I’ve gained a new appreciation for the base lines of sacred geometry. When constructing geometric shapes with only a straight edge and a compass, a whole map of lines are made for even simple forms. These base maps can give an understanding of how the form of mosques are designed and how the intricate patterns on tiles and gates are created. Deconstructing and experimenting with geometry has become a new lens to look at design for me and possibly a distraction from actually completing studio work.
In studio when all my peers were building their ferry station models on the computer, I found myself still in my sketchbook continuously drawing overlapping circles, then connecting points, to recreate the perfect hexagons that I love finding around Turkey. I used these forms to inform my ferry station design, and when I stood back from my work, I realized how much hexagons had influenced me that day. I looked down and saw the shirt I was wearing had hundreds of hexagons and the pattern on my pants was even covered in a similar repeating geometry. Here I was spending my day drawing hexagons, cutting out hexagons, layering hexagons, building with hexagons on SketchUp, and some how I managed present my geometric obsession just by my overly patterned outfit.
The next day pushed my fascination even farther when Cynthia Lapp spent the morning teaching us about geometric pattern in sacred design. She introduced the workshop with a section from “Islamic Design: A Genius for Geometry” by Daud Sutton:
“The role of sacred art is to support the spiritual life of those whom it surrounds, to instill a way of perceiving the world and the subtle realities behind it.
The challenge…is how to build with matter so as to best embody spirit.
This art…revolves around two poles; geometric pattern, the harmonic and symmetrical subdivision of the plane giving rise to intricately interwoven designs that speak of infinity and the omnipresent center, and idealized plant form or arabesque, spiraling tendrils, leaves, buds and flowers embodying organic life and rhythm.
Framing a (repeating pattern) maintains a geometric elegance at the same time as clearly implying that it could repeat indefinitely…the perfect visual solution to…the idea of unity.”
That reading made me feel like I could justify spending studio time repeating geometry and also reminded me how much meaning the formation of these shapes can have. We started with making a perfect square with just a compass and a straight edge. Before even laying down the four lines to make a simple square, you have to draw a point, a line, and three circles. The class itself had an unique pace of speed drawing the examples and attempting the seemingly impossible as we layered twenty circles to create the shape called the breath of compassionate.
The lecture clarified some of my recent geometric findings, and made me realize how you can make an infinite amount of shapes from just using circles and lines. After being inspired by the geometric patterns and beautifully formed mosques, like the Üç Şerefeli Cami, I bought a ring that will remind me of the base lines that form the geometry and the discoveries that I have made in Istanbul.