– Close observations of ferns –
Did you ever notice how the shape of a fern leaf consists of one basic form that is only repeated again and again on widely varying scales? (Once I made the sketches for the picture below in New Zealand where ferns grow like weeds.) In the middle you see a fragment of a leaf in true size. On the upper part of the diagram you see where this fragment sits on the large, complete leaf; and you can see how that leaf consists of exactly the same design, repeated over and over again. The outer shape of the whole leaf is also basically identical to the little fragments. You can go down to the very smallest elements of the design, it’s only a repetition of the same idea. Down at the very beginning, where you almost need a magnifying glass to see it, the pattern gets a little abstract – just the bare bones of the idea without much detail.
A variation on one theme, a play with one basic idea. In a fantastic way, it doesn’t matter how close you look, it’s always the same. Look at a fragment of the leaf or look at the whole leaf, they are identical. Of course, there are little inconsistencies everywhere, but the idea runs through the whole leaf, you can’t even tell where it begins and where it ends. In a surprising way I can’t help to feel that the inconsistencies even explain the idea.
The young shoots seem to be a symbol of another even more basic principal: unfolding. Half holding – half releasing, half protective – half expanding. I always found it a boundless inspiration for my art design:
Klaus May 26, 2007