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Sacred Geometry

56 the Seventeen SymmetrieS from slide, spin and mirror The Arab alchemist Jabir ibn Hayyan, known in the West as Geber, regarded 17 as the numerical basis of the physical world. Using a very simple sample design the next three pages explore the three basic operations of rotation, reflection and sliding. These, combined with the three regular tilings, give seventeen patterns which are shown below, opposite and on the next page. This visual key can be very useful when creating repeats for fabric or pottery patterns see too pages 4041. Pattern, by the way, comes from the latin word pater, meaning father, in the same way that matrix comes from mater, meaning mother. Remember, not all stencils can be turned over reflected without making a mess so choose your repeat units with care. And on that rather practical note this dense little book on one of the oldest subjects on Earth has now reached its end I hope you have gleaned enough ideas from it to create something good, true and beautiful next time you get designing 57
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