Compass Points

George W. Hart

It is hard to convey the sense of motion which this sculpture creates as it bursts out in all directions. Compass Points is a 14-inch diameter one-of-a-kind sculpture assembled from identical pieces of laser-cut wood (solid aspen). From a distance, it is suggestive of a confusing explosion of fireworks. On close-up examination, we see it is composed of separate X-shaped parts which are intricately woven through each other and meet in groups of three and five. Each of the X-shaped parts looks like this:

Assembling the parts was quite a challenge. They only touch at the outer joints, and narrowly pass by each other at various angles in the interior. This computer-generated image might convey the structure more clearly, as each X is a slightly different shade of blue:

The name Compass Points alludes both to the points of the geometer's tool which are echoed in the shapes of wood and to the X of cardinal directions: North, South, East, and West. But the cardinal directions of this sculpture's compass points radiate all about the three-dimensional world; they are the 3-fold and 5-fold symmetry axes of an icosahedron.

Above is a three-inch model made of nylon by selective laser sintering.  It started out white, but I dyed it a peach color akin to the wood.  I have also made a larger wooden version of this design, described here and an aluminum version described here.

Copyright 2003, George W. Hart