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String art, created with thread and paper
A string art representing a projection of the 8-dimensional 421 polytope
Quadratic Béziers in string art: The end points () and control point (×) define the quadratic Bézier curve (). The arc is a segment of a parabola.

String art or pin and thread art, is characterized by an arrangement of colored thread strung between points to form geometric patterns or representational designs such as a ship's sails, sometimes with other artist material comprising the remainder of the work. Thread, wire, or string is wound around a grid of nails hammered into a velvet-covered wooden board. Though straight lines are formed by the string, the slightly different angles and metric positions at which strings intersect gives the appearance of Bézier curves (as in the mathematical concept of envelope of a family of straight lines). Quadratic Bézier curve are obtained from strings based on two intersecting segments. Other forms of string art include Spirelli, which is used for cardmaking and scrapbooking, and curve stitching, in which string is stitched through holes.

String art has its origins in the 'curve stitch' activities invented by Mary Everest Boole at the end of the 19th century to make mathematical ideas more accessible to children.[1] It was popularised as a decorative craft in the late 1960s through kits and books.[2]

A computational form of string art that can produce photo-realistic artwork was introduced by Petros Vrellis, in 2016. [3]


See also


  1. ^ Michalowicz, Karen Dee Ann (1996). "Mary Everest Boole: An Erstwhile Pedagogist for Contemporary Times". In Calinger, Ronald (ed.). Vita mathematica. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 291. ISBN 0-88385-097-4.
  2. ^ Blanken, Rain, author. (2018-06-15). String art magic : the secrets to crafting geometric art with string and nail. ISBN 978-1-940611-73-0. OCLC 988301633. ((cite book)): |last= has generic name (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Bown, Oliver (2021). "Beyond the Creative Species: Making Machines That Make Art and Music". The MIT Press. ISBN 9780262045018.