Mathematics is like art; you either understand the concepts (i.e., you ‘get it’), or you become completely lost when coming into contact with them. Some people are able to understand both complex theories and expressions in art, and equations that, for some people, look like a bag of numbers and symbols exploded onto a piece of paper. In 1847, Oliver Byrne, a civil engineer and author, published a book called “Euclid’s Elements” which used coloured graphic explanations of each geometric principle. The style of graphics is similar to that of the Bauhaus and De Stijl movements, but since the book predates each, it could very well have been an inspiration for the creativity of the modernists.
Fast forward to the present, and a new rebirth of this book’s mathematical illustrations is inspiring paper engineer and illustrator Helen Friel to create three-dimensional sculpture replicas of the exact graphics in the book. The artists’ series, entitled “Here’s Looking at Euclid” (2012) uses the instructions found in Byrne’s book to create tangible mathematical theorems in the palm of your hand. Sure, it is a cool sculpture all on its own, but it is also an amazing tool to help teach people these theorems, especially those who are more visual learners and have difficulty concentrating on a page full of numbers.
If you would like to make one of these sculptures yourself, you can download and make your very own paper model of Pythagoras’ Theorem here.
I am very excited to reveal a wonderful new project with the Savoy hotel. An illustrated pop-up menu for the Savoy’s Beaufort Bar. This has been a really special project to be a part of and I’ve had the pleasure of working along side Helen Friel, Paper engineer extraordinaire! Helen and I have been working on this for a full year, so it is great to see it finally come to life and celebrate 15 incredible (and i mean incredible) cocktails, created by head bartender Chris Moore. This is special in so many ways, and it is great to work with such an institution, these have been printed in a hand numbered edition of 1000, and will be available to purchase at a later date. number 1 will go into the archives alongside many other historic illustrated menus.
Designer Helen Friel explains, “[Edgar Allan Poes’] ‘The Imp of the Perverse’ discusses the voice inside all of us that makes us to do things we know we shouldn’t do. Each page is perforated in a grid system with sections of the text missing. Readers must follow the simple instructions to tear and fold specific sections to reveal the missing text. Books are usually precious objects and the destruction is engineered to give the reader conflicting feelings, do they keep the book in it’s perfect untorn form? Or give into the imp and enjoy tearing it apart?”
And to think I was impressed with the paper art in Real Simple…
Helen Friel’s work with paper makes me want to stop what I’m doing and take a class in paper art. I’m not sure if it’s my chubby child hands or just a lack of general dexterity, but I’ve never been able to master delicate paper cutting in a way that leads to incredible artwork like this (I can cut a mean paper doll chain, though). I’ve covered Helen’s work before (and her home), but these designs represent the work she’s been doing since then, which includes projects for clients like Vanity Fair (the jewelry story above and below), Tatler and Harrods. My favorites are above and below, but you can see more of Helen’s recent work right here (photographs by Chris Turner). Thanks to Helen for sending this over.
This edition of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Imp of the Perverse,” designed by Helen Friel, must be destroyed to be properly read. Friel explains, “‘The Imp of the Perverse’ discusses the voice inside all of us that makes us to do things we know we shouldn’t do. Each page is perforated in a grid system with sections of the text missing. Readers must follow the simple instructions to tear and fold specific sections to reveal the missing text. Books are usually precious objects and the destruction is engineered to give the reader conflicting feelings, do they keep the book in it’s perfect untorn form? Or give into the imp and enjoy tearing it apart?”