Far more than mere decoration, the symmetry of repetitive patterns has evoked a deep aesthetic, emotional and even spiritual response from humans since the beginning of recorded history. For millennia, artisans, masons, architects and weavers have carved geometric patterns into stone, tiled them into walls, floors and ceilings, painted them onto bone, clay and porcelain and woven them into elaborately detailed textiles. Through the Tesselles series, Porcelainia celebrates the history, beauty and significance of the family of tesselations " two-dimensional tilings of the plane" as a visual bridge between art and mathematics. The word tessellation comes from the Latin "tessella," the small square stone or tile used in ancient Roman mosaics. Tesseres, meaning "four," is derived. Geometric patterns that cover the plane by fitting together the same basic shape or shapes in a regular or "periodic" way are known variously as tilings, ornaments, mosaics, nets, and "tessellations." There are limitless ways to create geometric patterns on the plane. However, there are two basic types of repeating patterns that use one or more tiles in a repetitive way: the three "regular" and eight "semi-regular" tessellations. The full range of tessellations now include non-periodic, quasi-periodic and fractal tesselations such as those well known through the work of artist, M.C. Escher and mathematician, Roger Penrose.
While tesselations can be seen in every culture around the world, they reached their highest level of sophistication as a high abstract art form in Islamic architecture where the principles of unity, abstraction and harmony with nature and the heavens is fundamental to the religion and artistic practice. Great Renaissance artists of Germany and Italy, Albrecht Durer and Leonardo da Vinci explored tessellations or ŇnetsÓ as a tools for the artist to use to render 3-dimensions onto a 2-dimensional surface naturally. This in turn influenced the highly realistic quality of their sketches and paintings, the greatest artworks known in the Western world. Since the 17th century, scientists and mathematicians have also studied tessellations in order to understand the patterns and dynamics of the natural world. Johannes Kepler explored them to understand the symmetry of snowflakes and space filling and contemporary scientist Donald CasparŐs discoveries of the growth patterns of quasicrystals.