Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Holiday Polyhedron #1: Non-Denominational Rhombic Dodecahedron!

Sorry I haven't been posting for a while - I went to Jakarta/Bandung/Yogyakarta for a week, and the packing/finishing work before that and the recuperating/welcoming prodigal siblings afterwards have kept me a little distracted.

But now I'm finally finding distractions to distract me from the distractions! Such as the creation of cute little Christmas baubles! Like the following:

It's a Non-Denominational Rhombic Dodecahedron! Here, I'll show you how to make 'em.

First, you need a "net", or the 2D surface layout of the polygons in your 3D shape. I got mine off Wikipedia, but later I discovered a better resource here.

The site's called Paper Models of Polyhedra, and it's awesome. Me and my sis used to trace these shapes out of our Childcraft encyclopedia: all the Platonic solids, tetrahedron, cube, octahedron, dodecahedron, icosahedron. Then I found a Chinese papercraft book and used a protractor to make prisms and pyramids and Archimedean solids, which are often just Platonic solids with their corners cut off: cuboctahedron, truncated tetrahedron, truncated cube... ah, never got very far with those, actually.

The rhombic dodecahedron is a Catalan solid. These were only discovered in 1836, and I'm fuzzy on the math. But the cool thing about them is that although they're made up of identical faces, these faces are irregular polygons.

Easy-peasy to print onto stiff card and snip it out. Now for some ideological aesthetics.

My family observes Christmas, because we like the decor, but we're actually freethinking Mahayana Buddhists with loads of Taoism and Confucianism and skepticism thrown in. So it makes very little sense for me to decorate the polyhedron with angels and shepherds and drummer-boys and wisemen and stars. Yet we don't want to write out the spiritual aspect of Christmas and replace it with Santa Claus and reindeer.

Luckily, I have a colour printer. And Google Images.

Save, paste into Word, print, cut with scissors, and paste with glue....

On the left-hand side: The Virgin of Guadalupe (Christianity), the Kaaba (Islam) and Tuapehkong (Taoism).
In the centre, from top to bottom: Michelangelo's Moses (Judaism), the Shrine of the Bab (Bahai), Mahavira (Jainism), Lakshmi (Hinduism), Zarathustra (Zoroastrianism), Amaterasu-o-mi-kami (Shintoism).
On the right-hand side: the Golden Temple of Amritsar (Sikkism), Bodhisattva Kuan Yin (Buddhism) and an Orthodox Jesus (Christianity).

Click the image above for a closer-up view.

Originally I wanted a Virtruvian man as well for the atheist humanists (like my sister, my boyfriend, and my sister's boyfriend), but I couldn't kick out any of the others, not even the double count for Christianity, because honestly, both those icons are gorgeous. Wanted Guru Nanak Dev as well for Sikkism, but decided to make a balance between male figures, female figures and architecture.

Gluing the whole thing together was trickier than I expected. I got gum all over the gods and prophets and I had to mop it up with tissue.

Nearly done. And there we go! Innit lovely?

Stick it on the tree, why don't you?

There we go. Sorry my photography's so bad. But I hope I'll have time to demonstrate another happy holiday bauble before Christmas. Selamat Hari Natal ke semua orang!

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