Thursday, April 30, 2009

Why do I need to learn Math?

Parents can admit that they have been questioned several times by their kids, “Why do I need to learn Math, Geometry, Algebra….?” And the list goes on.
I for one loved doing Math as a kid. For me it was a good pass time. Yes, you heard right, good pass time. When I was asked to study by my parents and I used to always pick Math. My parents had to push me to study other things. As I grew Math and Physics became my favorite subjects.
Of course this did help me in acquiring my current job as a software engineer. So you are wondering why I am even mentioning this in my art related blog.
The fact is that I see myself applying my knowledge of Math in my art work very often. A good example are these big jars I made recently. Of course, one option was to throw them on the wheel, but I wanted to make them big and much lighter and consistent in size. So I decided to make them from slabs of clay, a technique I got more confidence after seeing the work of Ginger Steele.
For the walls, I could make straight cylindrical in shape, which would involve cutting a rectangle and joining the ends. But what if you want it slightly tapered? I would have to have a curved slab, but how big? What curve? What radius? What angle? That is when geometry and Math help. I spent several hours designing the shape that I wanted and then trying to figure out the template for the slab I would need to achieve the shape I wanted. Here is a small snippet of my scratch pad. Oh yes.. it sure has some Math there.
Once I figured out the size of my template, it was a lot easier to construct these jars. Once I knew I had the template right, I didn’t have to struggle with the shape that I wanted. The top lid seats and lids have been thrown on the wheel. I still need to go through the process of decorating them, but at this stage I am happy with the way they turned out. I will post more pictures when I am done with these.
So tell your kids to stick to Math, even if they don’t know where they will need it. It will surely benefit them in some way or the other.


Cynthia said...

Math rocks! I was one of those kids who questioned why we needed to learn some things - lo and behold, I had to dust off algebra when I got into ceramics... :)

StudioÉLAN said...

Now that I am making my own glazes I seriously wish I had not skipped off all of that chemistry in high school... This will be a case of "kids, do as I say, not as I did!"

claynfiber said...

Great blog! As a Home Ec teacher I was always giving my classes impromptu math lessons as they had such troubles altering recipes or patterns. Thanks for your post and your jars are gorgeous!

Judith Frederick said...

Awesome blog.... I loved Math also. I took every class they offered when I was in community college as a youngster. There is a lot of math in art.

Made by SwirlyGirl said...

Very interesting, Charan! I use math as little as possible, but I'm glad to see that my kids aren't wasting their time!


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