A Tessellation in the Wirksworth Festival Art and Architecture Trail, 10,11 September 2016

The 2016 Wirksworth Festival, Derbyshire, UK, begins on Saturday 10th. September with the pioneering and now widely-famed Art and Architecture Trail which takes you from surprise to surprise, in and out of gardens, up and down the ancient hillside town temporarily or permanently colonised by artists from all over the town and from far and near.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Wirksworth-Festival-86444826559/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wirksworth_fest

Lattice Labyrinths entry: http://www.wirksworthfestival.co.uk/artists/davie-mitchell-2016

This year the trail includes a half-foot-sized tiled realisation of a version of Chinese Lattice Labyrinth (9,8), chosen to celebrate the patronal (or matronal?) festival of St Mary the Virgin, patron of Wirksworth’s mediaeval St Mary’s Church, which fell as recently as yesterday, as I write, September 8th. Four supertiles of this tessellation have a wingspan of 44 squares, which, if sized two-by-two-inches, can just be fitted onto two 8 foot by 4 foot (approx 2.4 metres by 1.2 metres) plywood boards. Here’s the design, with added doodles, submitted for the approval of the Trail curators.

chinese-98-st-artarchtrail-a4-300dpiand in a rare moment of self-revelation here I am screwing  tile-separators to one of the boards at 54 mm intervals (+ or – 1mm, I hope, or the 47mm x 47mm tiles won’t fit).

dave-screwing-separatorsand here is the highly-skilled, self-moulded philosopher Jacob the Joiner (Jacob Butler), cutting up 1500 or so tiles on his rock-solid and millimetre-precise bench/table saw. It took only about three hours. The tiles are medium density fibreboard which when sawn splinters much less than real wood.

jacob-sawing-3Other curiosities of the installation can be demonstrated if you dip into the Trail (completing it might take the two days) after purchasing a guide and badge at one of  several accessible locations in the centre of Wirksworth. On a damp evening, Friday 9th. September, the completed piece was assembled by myself and son Michael, laid out flat on the lawn behind the Memorial Hall on St.John’s Street, necessarily sheltered by a substantial but obligingly pop-up gazebo.



The whole concept has worked but I’m a bit disappointed by its appearance; tomorrow we’ll perhaps add some  parts of some further supertiles in pale blue (against the red) and charcoal grey (against the yellow) to achieve more contrast with the board.

PS now we’ve made this beast, its parts can be reassembled anywhere and to designs tailored to other dates or significant numbers. All rush at once.

The Lattice Labyrinths workbook  is available from the publisher or you-know-who , or from a good independent bookshop , via Google or for two days only on the lawn behind the Memorial Hall in Wirksworth, where two striking giftwrap designs, “Logistical Nightmare” and “Diamonds are Forever” (oops – a copyright infringement, I take back that title), are also to be had at £1.50 a sheet, 10% to the Festival.

P.P.S. there are less arcane uses for the Tesslab Tile Yard:



About davescarthin

After terminating academic and local government careers, long an independent bookseller/publisher at Scarthin Books, Cromford, Derbyshire, UK. An antiquarian bookseller in two senses, I now have more time to be an annuated independent post-doc, developing the long dormant topic of lattice labyrinth tessellations - both a mathematical recreation and a source of compelling practical tiling and textile designs. Presenting a paper and experiencing so many others at Bridges Seoul 2014 Mathart conference was a great treat, as were the spirited MathsJam Annual Conferences in November 2016 and 2017. I'm building up to a more academic journal paper and trying hard to find practical outlets in graphic design and landscape architecture. I submitted 8 ft square tiling designs to the Wirksworth Festival Art and Architecture Trail in 2016 and 2017. I love giving illustrated talks, tailored to the audience. Get in touch to commission or to collaborate.
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2 Responses to A Tessellation in the Wirksworth Festival Art and Architecture Trail, 10,11 September 2016

  1. ivasallay says:

    Wow! That was a lot of work, but well worth it. Now more people will be able to enjoy your tessellations!


  2. davescarthin says:

    Among the many people who viewed the Wirksworth installation was a designer and maker of QUILTS who has given two papers at Bridges conferences and who told me about “MathsJam” evenings that take place on the third Tuesday of each month (next one is Tuesday 20th September) in the following places:
    Aberdeen, Antwerp, Auckland, Bangkok, Bath, Baton Rouge, Berlin, Birmingham, Bombay, Brighton, Brisbane, Brunei, Cambridge, Canterbury, Cardiff, Cheltenham, Chicago, Delhi, East Dorset, Edinburgh, Ghent, Guelph, Guildford, Kolkata, Lagos, Leeds, Leicester, Lincoln, Lisbon, London, Lund, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham, Oshawa, Oslo, Oxford, Peterborough, Phoenix, Portsmouth, San Antonio, Sheffield, Stockholm, Swansea, Sydney, Tacoma, Winnipeg and York.
    I shall attend the meeting in a Nottingham pub. Is there one within reach of you?


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