Underneath 'The Seasons'
The Seasons project began with the Islamic design on page 100 of the book entitled Geometric Concepts in Islamic Art by Issam El-Said & Ayse Parman. Figure 1 (on the right) is an animated construction of the basic unit of the design as shown in the book.
This basic unit is then extended to form a larger hexagon (see Figure 2) in which the original unit occupies the central hexagon. The next stage is to apply a little distortion in the form of a wave function (see Figure 3). Without going into detail, this 'wave' is applied in the form of an anti-clockwise torque at each of the six vertices of the outer hexagon and at the centre. The vertices, the centre and the mid points between them all remain static whilst the degree of torque applied is sufficient to generate arcs between them with centres at an adjacent mid point. Other lines were drawn freehand using the distorted frame as a guide though they could of course be plotted geometrically.
To complete the structure of the image we now need to thicken some of the lines to represent the tree trunk and branches and select an horizon line. Where the Tree being rendered is displaying foliage then the trunk and branches will be partially obscured; it is a matter of choice as to which sections will actually show. Then finally, the colours must be selected to represent whichever season is being depicted.
This pattern is fairly unusual in that the tessera do not vary greatly in size (tessara are the individual bits that make up the whole mosaic) whereas most Islamic designs consist of one bold element surrounded by many of substantially smaller proportions. By keeping to units of similar size it meant that a pictorial image could be developed that was not dominated by the root pattern. Instead it could be held in tension by the representational aspect of the landscape. Indeed it is a pleasing feature of the final design that the pattern does not immediately intrude into the picture, rather, viewers will find that after a short time gazing at the images, the structure of the pattern will emerge.