Who invented string art? Several people contributed to this popular -70s craft, but it really has its roots in mathematics. The concept was first introduced as a way to illustrate complex math concepts, but the serious nature of early string art gave way to the imaginative and creative interpretation of unnamed artists who devised the endless designs and patterns that give the craft its unique look.
Mary Everest Boole
In an age when women were not viewed as capable of high mathematics, Mary Everest Boole (1832-1916) taught herself mathematics from her father's extensive library while she lived in England and later France. Boole was involved in academics and promoted innovative teaching techniques. She also married a famous mathematician, George Boole. She wrote a number of mathematics books and encouraged the use of curve stitching to illustrate how curves could be created using straight lines. She used the string art technique to help children understand geometry better.
Born in 1910, in France, Pierre Bezier became an engineer and inventor who received credit for many inventions. Most notably, he gave his own name to the Bezier curve, used in many computer graphics systems today. He received a doctorate degree in mathematics in 1977 from the University of Paris. Bezier worked for an automotive company when he came up with a way to determine the points on a curve. String art takes into account the mathematical ability to create a curve from set points using a series of straight lines. When straight lines are put through at least two points in a pattern, Bezier curves emerge, giving the illusion of rounded shapes, when in fact no curved lines are used. Bezier curves are used to create all forms of string art patterns. The curves can be plotted out using a ruler, but today's string art patterns can all be made via computer, thanks to Bezier's innovations.
Folk Art Of The 1960s And 1970s
Along with macramé and other knotted and stringed crafts, the -60s and -70s became a time when people became interested in unique and handcrafted items. String art was easy to do and produced an endless variety of patterns and color combinations. Soon, string art started popping up at craft fairs and as home décor. String art kits became available and were even utilized in the elementary and junior high schools as part of the math lessons, just like Mary Everest Boole would have wanted.
Create string art earrings to complete a retro look or make a bold statement. While the technique of stringing is not too difficult, prepare a practice set of earrings before moving onto the real thing.