M.C. Escher Kaleidocycles Boxed Models
A kaleidocycle is a closed chain of tetrahedra that can cycle endlessly through a center hole.
Best known for his strangely realistic depictions of things that defy the laws of physics, Maurits Cornelis Escher became interested in problems of repetition and symmetry after traveling to the Alhambra, a 14th century Moorish castle in Granada, Spain. Fascinated by the periodic (i.e. regularly recurrent) designs of the castle’s mosaics, he began to pursue the idea that a plane can be divided into uniform, interlocking figures, forming a pattern that repeats itself at set intervals, theoretically to infinity. Instead of simply combining abstract shapes to produce a pattern, however, Escher decided to use more meaningful figures—shells and starfish, angels and devils, for example—images that could be connected not just graphically but also conceptually. Kaleidocycles, created by mathematician Doris Schattschneider and graphic designer Wallace Walker, explores the three-dimensional implications of Escher’s two-dimensional periodic designs. With a little glue, you can easily assemble the enclosed models—all printed with repeating patterns derived from the artist’s original drawings—into various kaleidocycles and geometric solids. In doing so, you will transform Escher’s beautiful designs into true examples of infinite repetition: the interlocking images will wrap endlessly over the surfaces of the three-dimensional objects.