An eclectic blog about beads, beading and beyond

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Parabolas and other curvy shapes for beaders

I love the curvy parabolic shapes that form my latest bracelet (see photo) – they seem pleasing and fascinating all at once.

I also love the word - parabola - what a wonderful word to roll around the tongue. It comes from the world of mathematics. Apparently, parabolas are sections of cones. As with many things mathematical parabolas appear in daily life in lots of places. For instance, when you shine a torch on a wall you see a parabolic curve of light appear, they occur in supporting arches and in their suspension ropes of bridges (e.g. the Golden Gate bridge in San Fransciso) and even in Smiley faces. (see photos).

The bounce of a ball creates parabolic shapes and there is even a poem that features the parabola - The Parabolic Balad by the Russian poet, Andrei Voznesensky. His poem begins:

‘My life, like a rocket, makes a parabola
flying in darkness, -- no rainbow for traveler’
(See for the complete poem).

Apparently, apart from winning the USSR State Prize for poetry Voznesenshy has a minor planet (3723) Voznesenskij, named after him.

Mathematics is full of wonderful language to describe a huge variety of curves in our daily life. A great way to expand your curvy language is to visit the online National Curve Bank: A Collection of Famous Plane Curves created in Mathematic by Gusavo Gordillo.

Here is a peak at just some of the delectable language of curves that I found in the National Curve Bank that could help you name your beaded curves or inspire you to create curves galore in your beading. Watch this space for more curvy delights in my own beading.

  1. Astroid
  2. Pear-shaped Quartic
  3. Bicorn
  4. Folium of Descartes
  5. Plateau Curves
  6. Cardiod
  7. Freeth's Nephroid
  8. Pursuit Curve
  9. Cartesian Oval
  10. Quadratrix of Hippias
  11. Catenary
  12. Hyperbola
  13. Rhodonea Curves
  14. Cayley's Sextic
  15. Hyperbolic Spiral
  16. Right Strophoid
  17. Cissoid of Diocles
  18. Hypotrochoid
  19. Sinusoidal Spirals
  20. Cochleoid
  21. Involute of a Circle
  22. Spiral of Archimedes
  23. Conchoid
  24. Kampyle of Eudoxus
  25. Spiric Sections
  26. Conchoid of de Sluze
  27. Kappa Curve
  28. Straight Line
  29. Cycloid
  30. Lamé Curves
  31. Talbot's Curve
  32. Devil's Curve
  33. Lemniscate of Bernoulli
  34. Tractrix
  35. Double Folium
  36. Limacon of Pascal
  37. Tricuspoid
  38. Dürer's Shell Curves
  39. Lissajous Curves
  40. Trident of Newton
  41. Eight Curve
  42. Lituus
  43. Trifolium
  44. Epicycloid
  45. Nephroid
  46. Tschirnhaus' Cubic




Patricia C Vener said...

Very intriguing perspective. I enjoy mixing art and science and am pleased to find another with a similar bent.

As for me, I adore spirals most but almost any curve fascinates and inspires me.

DEBGER said...

Wow, never knew that there were so many curves, great article

Ruthie said...

Interesting post - and that bracelet is really neat! How on earth did you get it to make those waves???

Marina Levy said...

Very interesting article

Marsha Wiest-Hines said...

Gorgeous bracelet, and I love the term list. You always make me think, Glenda.

Anonymous said...

I had no idea there were so many curves and what great names they have too! Thanks for a great article and I LOVE that bracelet :)

Liz x

Dax Designs - now on Artisan Co-op