Notans and Tessellations

Notan

7th Grade

NOTAN is a Japanese word which means "dark-light." The word, however, means more than that. The principle of NOTAN as it relates to design is defined as the interaction between a positive (light) and a negative (dark) space.

Western culture tends to emphasize the positive aspect of design, with less emphasis on the negative (background) space. The Eastern culture from which NOTAN arose, seeks a more balanced view of the world, and of design as it relates to the world. The classic yin/yang symbol that we all know is a reflection of this desire for balance.

 

Notan

 

Here we have done the "Expansion of the Square" exercise to study the interaction of positive and negative space. One space is as important as another space to bring to the design.

 

Both symmetrical (the same all around) and asymmetrical (different on each side) designs can be achieved through the use of the expanded square. In order for the exercise to be completed successfully, it should have an interesting shape in what remains of the original square, feel well-balanced in terms of the expanded parts, and the parts should balance one another. These examples have demonstrated this goal nicely.

 

Notan

 

Notan

Notan

 

Notan

More on Notans on IAD

Notan Asymmetric Tessellations - Art lesson by Lotte Petricone

Notan Mask Patterns - Another art lesson by Lotte Petricone on three-dimensional Notan paper masks.

 

Tessellations Using Triangles and Polygons

Here are some tessellations done by 7th and 8th graders.

 

Tessellation

Tessellation Close-up

Tessellation

 

Tessellation

 

Tessellation

Tessellation closeup

 

Tessellation closeup

 

Tessellation closeup

Standard Tessellations

Tessellation

 

Tessellation

Tessellation

 

Tessellation

More on Tessellations

Art Tessellations - Everything You Ever Wanted to Know - As the title implies, this is IAD's page on the history of tessellations and how they are put together.

Creating Tessellations - Creating tessellations using rotation, translation and reflection. The work of M. C. Escher is explored.

Marker Medieval Tessellations - This companion lesson was used when creating the parallelograms.

 

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