Saturday, May 10, 2014

TUTORIAL Conway Bead Beaded with Tetrahedrons and Prisms

I just posted my newest beaded bead pattern.   I'm calling it the Conway Bead.  I named after the great mathematician John Horton Conway in honor of his extensive work on symmetry, especially four dimensional polytopes, on which this piece is based. This particular design is taken from the 03-ambo polydodecahedron.  (Say that ten times fast!)  Alicia Boole Stott discovered this shape last century, along with a bunch of other 4D polytopes, built models of them in paper, and wrote about them.  I didn't bead the whole thing, just a small piece of it.
Although it might sound complicated from that introduction, the structure of this thing is actually quite elegant.  Once you get the hang of it, it's quite intuitive, and my tutorial is designed to give you that intuition.  It's beaded much like cubic right angle weave but with tetrahedrons and prisms instead of cubes.  This tutorial is designed for experienced beaders, and it includes charts like those found on my blog here. This tutorial assumes you already how to do cubic right angle weave and know how to connect two ends to make a continuous strip. If you don’t, check out the links here to learn how.
You should also probably already know how to bead a dodecahedron or at least know what a dodecahedron is before trying this design.   This is a dodecahedron.
One of the things I like about this structure is that it has large holes that run through its center so you can easily string it on chain or cord.
Another thing I like about this beaded bead is that the underlying structure comes from something that is four dimensional.  If you were to try to build the whole structure with bugle beads, it wouldn't work because the angles don't actually match up precisely.  Even the little piece I beaded probably wouldn't work.  It's close, but not exact.  But because seed beads are short and bead weaves are flexible, you just have to be close.  So bead weaving makes it possible to build a little chunk of this 4D thing in 3D, thereby making the impossible just unlikely.  Thanks for looking.

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