Nick Sayers

Brighton & Hove, England

I make mathematically-inspired sculptures, installations and functional objects from recycled, reused and repurposed materials. My work explores the beauty of maths and the creative possibilities of recycling.

Unlike much mathematical art that is generated abstractly, I use recognisable household objects to make work that is accessible, real and fun. I hope by extension to make maths and geometry tangible to a lay audience.

My artistic influences include Conrad Shawcross, William Heath Robinson, Andy Goldsworthy and Jan Dibbets. I've been inspired mathematically by Magnus Wenninger, Stewart Coffin and Buckminster Fuller, and by attending Bridges conferences!

Bicycle Spirograph
Photograph of 1.5 metre square installation
Bicycle, wood and metal work, vinyl, whiteboard marker

Made from a scrap bicycle, this machine can draw 18 different Spirograph patterns using its original 18 gears. The rear wheel has been replaced by an articulated drawing arm, and patterns are created by rotating the whole mechanism around the centre. Flower-like continuous curves are produced from the path described in space by the spinning tyre relative to the front crank.

An accompanying drawing activity allows children to trace smaller Spirograph patterns using bicycle cogs and specially laser-cut wheels with internal teeth.

You can see more photos of the project at

Giant Pantograph
Photograph of 2-metre pantograph body drawing machine
Wood, nuts and bolts, photographic tripod, art paper, mechanical pencil

Pantographs were used by draughtsmen and engravers to enlarge or reduce drawings before the advent of computer aided design.

Inspired by the Sketch-a-Graph children's toy, I made this giant drawing machine from two metre long wooden struts. With it, people can draw miniaturised body outlines of each other onto small sheets of paper, using the magic of maths and mechanics.

The Giant Pantograph followed on from two sculpture projects in which I'd made geodesic play structures from lattices of children's body silhouettes, machine-cut from recycled plastic. Creating these outlines involved green-screen digital photography and computer postproduction. The Giant Pantograph proved a simple and fun tool for drawing silhouettes much more quickly. It has been a popular family-friendly activity at science fairs and summer festivals.

You can see more photos of the project at

Pinhole solargraph: Poet's Corner, Hove, UK
7" x 5" (178mm x 127mm)
Black and white photographic paper, sunlight

Solargraphs are photos of the Sun's tracks across the sky, captured with pinhole cameras exposed continuously for up to six months. The photos are ideally taken between the solstices, when the noon sun is at its highest and lowest.

This image was captured between 15 January and 21 June 2012 - a total of 158 days (5.2 months) continuous exposure. Taken with a camera made from an old lager can, it is a cylindrical panorama with 160 degrees of vision left to right, and 90 degrees vertically. The sun has projected a series of sine wave tracks across the paper, broken up by occasional clouds.

The project was inspired by photographer Justin Quinnell.

You can see more photos of the project at