World Tessellation Day is celebrated on June 17 every year. Tessellation is the art of tiling a plane using geometric shapes in the form of tiles that require specific measurements. This holiday is dedicated to appreciating the fascinating art of tessellation and honoring these math-inspired visual artists who don’t often get recognized. Today also allows kids to explore this art form as a hobby. While it’s all about creativity, it also requires analytical skills — a great exercise to boost young children’s left and right brain functions. Learn more about the activities you can do to celebrate World Tessellation Day.
History of World Tessellation Day
The origin of the mathematical art of creating patterns, or tessellation, dates back to 4000 B.C. when ancient Sumerians discovered the use of clay tiles as home and temple decorations. It wasn’t too long until the next civilizations quickly adopted tessellation both in art and architecture. The Arabs, Chinese, Egyptians, Japanese, Romans, Persians, and the Moors practiced the use of repeated patterns and geometric designs in their decorative arts. During the classical antiquity period in the 8th century, tessellation became a staple for mosaic tiling decorations using small square blocks called ‘tesserae.’
In the 4th century, one of the most famous tessellation art was made by the Muslim Moors in Grenada, Spain: the Alhambra, an Islamic tessellation artwork composed of countless tiles in geometric positions that were constructed for the residence and court of Mohammed ibn Yusuf Ben Nasr.
In 1619, Johannes Kepler conducted the first official and documented study of tessellation art. In his book “Harmonice Kundi,” he cited regular and semi-regular geometric designs that heavily influenced modern-day tessellation. He’s also the first person to explore and document the hexagonal features of honeycomb and snowflakes.
In 1891, Russian crystallographer Yevgraf Fyodorov explained in a more advanced study that every periodic tiling in a plane has one of 17 isometries. This study marks the first official recognition of tessellation as a mathematical study. This was further explored by Otto Kienzl and Heinrich Heesch in 1964, and Alexei Shubnikov and Nikolain Belov in 1964.
Today, contemporary artists introduced different modern permutations such as surreal landscapes, hand-print patterns, and paper tessellations.
World Tessellation Day timeline
Sumerians introduce tessellation using clay tiles.
Muslim Moors construct the Alhambra as a residence and court for Mohammed ibn Yusuf Ben Nasr.
Johannes Kepler studies and explains regular and semi-regular geometric designs of tessellation art.
Russian crystallographer Yevgraf Fyodorov introduces tessellation as a form of math.
World Tessellation Day FAQs
In what can I find tessellation art?
Tessellation art exists in fabric patterns, chess boards, tiled floors, and brick walls, to name a few.
What is another term for tessellation?
Other terms for tessellation are grid, matrix, or plexus.
What shapes do not tessellate?
Circles, ovals, and oblongs do not tessellate.
World Tessellation Day Activities
Create your own tessellation art
From tiles to paper designs, you can create your own tessellation art design by just using the simplest materials found in your home. Follow D.I.Y. tutorials on YouTube and let your creative juices flow.
Take tessellation courses
Tessellation art classes are ideal for kids who show artistic and creative potential. Enroll your child in your local art school and let them take weekend classes to boost their creativity and analytical capacity.
Try digital tessellation art
Spend the day on your laptop and try out the latest tessellation trend: digital art patterns. There are several apps for tessellation making. Be sure to save your final product and upload it on your social media with the hashtag #TessellationDay
5 Interesting Facts About Tessellation
Only three regular polygons tile a plane
Only a square, triangle, and hexagon can completely tile a plane.
A cube in 3.D.
A Cube in 3.D. is the only regular polyhedron that can independently tessellate.
Tessellation is science
Science supports that beehive honeycombs, snowflakes, and dried-up mud are all geometric.
Three ways to construct a tessellation
The three categories of tessellation construction are translation, reflection, and rotation.
The father of modern tessellation
Dutch artist M.C. Escher is considered the father of modern tessellation.
Why We Love World Tessellation Day
It uses both the left and right brain
Tessellation art is a good exercise to be both creative and mathematical. Unlike other art projects, tessellating requires math while executing your creative vision. It’s perfect for kids’ brain development.
Tessellation in fashion is trending
The minimalist era of fashion is on the rise. Tessellation designs of repeated patterns on clothes are hip and trendy. It’s a great excuse to wear these designs on World Tessellation Day.
It’s an underappreciated art
Not many people know about the cultural, scientific, and mathematical history of tessellation. It’s a great way to introduce this to people to honor the artists and scholars who dedicate their lives to this art form.
World Tessellation Day dates