ilonka-karasz

Ilonka Karasz. The Shape of Things. 1964.

“With the help of geometry we can measure the earth & the shape of things on earth. We can do more–we can build. Man builds houses & bridges & measures by shadows. How does nature build? Who makes the snowflakes in the shape of hexagons? The beehives & the wasps nests? Rocks & Crystals appear in very definite shapes. Nature makes salt in the shape of cubes. The prism breaks light into the seven colors of the rainbow, and bubbles pack like a tetrakaidecahedron. Maybe everything in the universe is constructed on some very exact pattern. Look about you at the stars & the shells & the flowers & the wings of dragonflies…”

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Ilonka Karasz. The Shape of Things. 1964.

“With the help of geometry we can measure the earth & the shape of things on earth. We can do more–we can build. Man builds houses & bridges & measures by shadows. How does nature build? Who makes the snowflakes in the shape of hexagons? The beehives & the wasps nests? Rocks & Crystals appear in very definite shapes. Nature makes salt in the shape of cubes. The prism breaks light into the seven colors of the rainbow, and bubbles pack like a tetrakaidecahedron. Maybe everything in the universe is constructed on some very exact pattern. Look about you at the stars & the shells & the flowers & the wings of dragonflies..”

For G.F.F.

I live with these myths, and they tell me this all the time. This is the problem that can be metaphorically understood as identifying with the Christ in you. The Christ in you doesn’t die. The Christ in you survives death and resurrects. Or you can identify that with Shiva. I am Shiva-this is the great meditation of the yogis in the Himalayas…Heaven and hell are within us, and all the gods are within us. This is the great realization of the Upanishads of India in the ninth century B.C. All the gods, all the heavens, all the worlds, are within us. They are magnified dreams, and dreams are manifestations in image form of the energies of the body in conflict with each other. That is what myth is. Myth is a manifestation in symbolic images, in metaphorical images, of the energies of the organs of the body in conflict with each other.

—Joseph Campbell from The Power of Myth, an Interview with Bill Moyers

Illustration by Ilonka Karasz for The Heavenly Tenants by William Maxwell (Harper).

“Wisconsin”, a gorgeous mid-century wallpaper design by Ilonka Karasz.

M and I were back in my hometown (Brunswick, Maine) a week ago, and some time spent combing the extraordinary clutter of the Fort Andross flea market turned up the second issue of remarkable 1950/51 design magazine Portfolio, and a huge Lewiston-Auburn Pie-Baking Contest pin for our former roommate and at-that-moment cat-watcher.