Iterative Algorithmic Polymer Clay

No sooner did I get comfortable with Grant Diffendaffer’s engineer’s approach to polymer clay than my son sent me this “Iterative Algorithmic Plastic Sculpture: Fimo Fractals” from Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories.

Who knew we were creating Sierpinski triangles, exploiting its fractal self-similarity? It’s a mathematical abstraction that naturally emerges in real life. “By the time that we get to the 2187 triangles of the seventh iteration, we begin to reach the point of diminishing returns,” they tell us. (But you knew that.)

I started following the links and got in way over my head. It’s great to see our artwork from other perspectives. See how smart you are?

  • reply Judy Belcher ,

    Back when they still had an art class in my children’s elementary school, this was what I taught the 5th and 6th grade class using polymer clay. It was a fun way to bring some math into the artroom. We used a simple flower cane and in the end it was an amazing bouquet. I had to slice and bake the beads, but their hard work was rewarded with some pretty cool backpack dangly things.

    • reply Melanie West ,

      Sweet! That kind of math I can handle! Lol. I really enjoyed reading about the folks behind the “Iterative Algorithmic Polymer Clay”. Very funny. I think this one will be added to my “Cool Science Stuff” bookmarks.

      Thanks, Cynthia!

      (btw, if there are any homeschoolers out there, this is a great site for that.)

      • reply Pat Sernyk ,

        Finally they, (the math big whigs) are realizing the potential math in polymer clay. When I was still on Math committees in our area as a contributing teacher, I urged the powers that be to allow students to configure shapes, quilt patterns etc. with polymer clay, but they (the unvisionaries that they were) couldn’t see it. Now, over fifteen years later, it’s finally being noticed. At least I introduced it to my own students way back then, and like Judy’s children, the kids enjoyed the work and had cool mementos from the classes.

        • reply Kim Cavender ,

          This is a great post, Cynthia! And Judy, I remember those beads. They were pretty impressive. It’s amazing what kids can do with a simple cane like a flower. I remember there was one that sort of resembled a rabid dog but that little boy was thrilled with it. It’s sad to think that art classes have mostly disappeared from public school systems.

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