The Hand and the Glove... ramblings about making.

14.09.07 -The Torus & the Möbius Strip

Some weeks ago I gave my friend Ivan Payne one of my thrown torus forms to experiment with. He’s an interesting person to discuss my project with as he completed his MA at the RCA last year. One of the brightest lateral thinkers that I’ve ever come across, something new always arises when we toss the ball back and forth. The end result of his unusually quiet investigation was a cut that spiralled up the inside of the torus and back down the outside connecting seamlessly to its starting point. In theory the torus had been bisected, but was very much still one complete form. Both the Torus and the Möbius strip are one-sided surfaces; if a Möbius strip is bisected lengthways it just doubles it’s circumference, which makes me think that the same thing was happening here. [What would have happened to the torus if it was made of flexible rubber?]
I went on to widen the cut & remove a 1cm wide strip of clay from the torus, producing an unsupported gap between the two ‘halves’. At that stage I found it impossible to work out whether the strip of clay was a Möbius strip.
From the workshop it was back to Rhino 3D on the computer in the hope that I could analyse and develop this phenomenon. At this stage I had the feeling that the link between the exploration of the torus was taking me back to the Möbius strip that played an important part in the genesis of this project. After some additional instruction from the very helpful technicians at Simply Rhino I described the spiral line onto the surface of the torus. In the ceramic test piece I was trying to visualise what the strip of clay would look like if it could be removed in one piece from the torus. In Rhino it is possible to take and develop the line into a ‘solid’ ribbon form. A single spiral strip doesn’t have a strong visual link to the torus it evolved from, so I went on to produce a double spiral,then a quadruple spiral, the latter appearing like a skeleton of the torus.
In exploring and developing the torus form, the use of 3D modelling software has been invaluable. It has enabled me to visualize the evolution of the form, literally adding another dimension to the creative process. My attempts to throw the toruses has demonstrated that a great deal of skill is required to realise the different stages of development, There is absolutely nothing wrong in that, it is the age old process helping to produce high quality craft and art work. However, I have chosen to produce forms that conform to a particular set of proportions and so far my throwing skills don’t allow for a very precise reproduction. It’s partly due to the torus being an enclosed form, preventing me from gauging the thickness of the clay wall.