Natural Design and Sacred Art
The beautiful "Book Of Nature" speaks a timeless language of geometric patterns, written in an alphabet of simple shapes. Everything from atoms to galaxies, flowers, seashells and the human body are based on this small archetypal alphabet at the heart of all "sacred geometry" traditions. It served as the basis of the symbols of religions, mythologies and fairy tales, and underlies the designs of sacred art, crafts and architecture across cultures. Students will learn to recognize and read nature's symbolic language, and will construct many of these fundamental geometric patterns and use them to design original works of art.
The Art of Root-Rectangles
Architects, craftspeople and artists
from prehistory to the present have known about the classic proportions
which emerge from the simple turning of a compass. A knowledge
of the fundamental root-ratios allows a designer to harmonize
the overall form of a creation with its internal decoration. producing
a powerful coherence and aesthetic effect on viewers. These are
the proportions used in the designs of temples, monuments, sculpture,
painting, pottery, jewelry, furniture, royal seals and coins.
Topics include the philosophy of dynamic design and the elements of dynamic symmetry, construction of the five basic root rectangles and their rabatment. Participants learn to evoke aesthetic guidelines and discover hotspots towards which the viewers eye naturally gazes.
To see a geometric analysis of the Biblical illumination called "G*D The Geometer" click here.
The Art of Polygons
Another method designers have always used to create the classic
proportions occurs in the hidden use of regular
multi-sided polygons, the archetypal patterns we resonate with whether we see them or not. Learn to recognize
the basic polygons and see many marvelous examples of their use in art, crafts and architecture from ancient to
To see how polygonal geometry was used to structure ancient
Chinese Pi discs, click here.
Worldwide Healing Art
Across many cultures, traditional healing included meditation
upon sacred art. Although expressed in different
ways, much sacred art has an underlying geometric framework guiding the arrangement of images. When
constructed and used properly, these sacred designs can have a healthy effect upon the viewer. This class will
examine geometric schemes of healing imagery from various traditions, including Native American, Buddhist,
Hindu, and Christian, and show how to read the geometric message underlying the obvious scene and symbols.
Light shines everywhere on Earth, but a sacred window transmits
and sanctifies light through its shapes,
proportions, colors and pictures. Learn to recognize and read a window's underlying geometric symbolic message
in examples from various cultures. Bring a geometric compass to learn how to replicate the construction which
yields a window or the facade of an entire cathedral.
To see an analysis of the north Rose Window of Chartres Cathedral, click here.
Principles of Sacred Architecture
Christian cathedral plan / Hindu temple plan
In all traditions, sacred architecture is consecrated space representing the entire cosmos in miniature, an imago mundi. The symbolic structure of sacred architecture reenacts the local creation myth in which chaos is brought to order. Sacred architecture is spiritual wisdom made visible, a map of the Real which exists outside and within ourselves, a map of our spiritual journey for gathering and integrating the fragmented chaos of our lives into a coherent whole. Mandalas become the floorplans of temples. This class will survey worldwide sacred architecture traditions for their common underlying principles, and how to read their geometric symbolism. [Note: Michael designed the geometry which guides the sculptures at the north side of the Portal of Paradise, the main entrance to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.]
Design A Cathedral
Cathedrals, like other sacred structures, were designed not by whim, taste or fashion, but according to the timeless principles of sacred architecture and the archetypal patterns which emerge from number and geometry. Learn about the basic schemes at work guiding cathedral floorplans and elevations. You are invited to bring a geometric compass and straightedge to learn how to construct and apply "root rectangles" and other basic patterns used in traditional cathedral designs.
Design Sacred Pottery
To many ancient cultures, geometry and number were considered to be the purest expressions of "perfect truth", unchanging and universal. By applying geometric harmony to the design of sculpture, pottery and architecture, cosmic truths are brought to Earth, imbuing art with timeless beauty. This class will look through the eyes of a Greek geometer to design sacred pottery using the proportions made by simple movements of the compass. Based, in part, on the work of Jay Hambidge. Bring a geometric compass, straightedge, blank paper and colored pencils.
Design Egyptian Jewelry
The ancient Egyptians are well known for their beautiful sacred jewelry. But less known is how they used an underlying symbolic geometry to express the power of their works. Participants learn to recognize and replicate the geometric frameworks used by the early Egyptians, and are encouraged to create their own designs using this ancient system of proportion.
To see a geometric analysis of this necklace of the Egyptian Princess Sit-hathor-yunet, click here.
Golden Section Design
It has been long known that the same patterns of wholeness, growth, balance and beauty found in the designs of plants, animals and the environment are repackaged in the measures of the human body. The relationship which unifies all life is the Golden Mean, also known as the Divine Proportion, which Kepler called a precious jewel and with which the architect Le Corbusier derived his Modulor System. The Golden Section describes the harmony of part and whole, and is a key to designs from Greek vases to the UN Building. This workshop guides participants through the Golden Section as number relationship and geometric shapes, its appearances in natures architecture and ideal design of the human body, and its pleasing proportions seen in worldwide arts, crafts and architecture. Participants will be guided to use Golden Section Design in original creations.
Islamic Patterns and Escher's Art
M. C. Escher (1898-1972) was a Dutch artist most recognized for spatial illusions, impossible buildings, repeating geometric patterns (tessellations). He was inspired by Islamic art, molecular crystallography and lace patterns.