Kevin Lee, using designs by Jos Leys and M.C. Escher

Instructor of Computer Science and Math
Normandale Community College
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

For several years I have written software to create Escher-like tessellations. The goal of my new program, TesselManiac!, is to have users (especially young ones) create tessellations and explore this connection of math and art. TesselManiac! allows you to create thirty-six types of isohedral tessellations. It includes several animations, including one where the tile morphs from a base polygon tile to the final shape.

I have been exploring techniques to laser cut and engrave tiles out of wood. Different species of wood are used to color the tiling .

Tiling Turtles Puzzle Box Set
Tiling Turtles Puzzle Box Set
25 x 25 x 6 cm
Wood: Maple, Walnut, and Mahogany

This beautiful Sea Turtle tessellation design by Jos Leys can be classified as modified Heesch type C4*C4C4*C4 (IH 71). It has a mirror line through the two fold vertices of the initial square tile. I have been cutting wood sea turtle tiles for workshops with kids and they love it. They delight in figuring out how they fit together. This unique puzzle set of tiles was laser cut and scribed using custom plywood with maple veneer on one face and walnut on the other. I flared the hind flippers slightly so the tiles lock together.This tessellation can be perfectly colored with two colors. The symmetry of the tile allows one to change color by flipping the tile over! A custom box was made to hold 32 tiles, 8 layers with 4 tiles in a layer.

Escher's Improved Fish Motif
Escher's Improved Fish Motif
25 x 25 x 1 cm
Wood: Maple, Walnut, Cherry, Mahogany, and Padauk

Escher symmetry drawing number 20 is a tessellation of a fish motif based on Heesch type CC4C4C4C4. In the bottom margin of the drawing Escher has sketched an improved motif. This wall hanging uses the improved motif and shows four fish in four different woods that form a translation unit for the tiling the plane. This tile type requires 4 colors to be perfectly colored. The woods are different thicknesses for even more contrast between tiles.