The J F Kennedy School is an elementary school in Somerville, MA. I was invited to work with six classes of students, grades 4-6, to create a tile mural for the school’s front foyer, which would incorporate science, math and art. I discovered fractals and knew the concept would be perfect for this project. I chose work with the simplest of fractals, the Sierpinski Triangle.
A fractal is a never ending pattern shapes that continuously repeats itself into smaller, proportional representations of itself. Our pattern was a equilateral triangle. Each class created their own 4 foot triangle in clay. They rolled out and overlapped slabs to build the base triangle. The following week nine smaller triangles were rolled, measured and attached on top of the first. Next, came 27 proportionally smaller triangles rolled, cut and attached. The fourth week was our last division and 81 triangles were added on. Each student carved their initials into the large center triangle, personalizing the mural.
Once bisque fired, the students and I came up with a glaze plan to emphasize the different sizes of the triangle using color. After the glaze firing, the tiles were installed together to create even larger triangles and allude to how their pattern could continue to grow, if the wall was bigger. The finished mural is beautiful and educational.