Hic Sunt Leones

This page title comes from those old maps where they weren't quite sure of the geography, but whatever it was, it was an interesting place

Here I've put some things and ideas that aren't mainstream glass engraving, or calligraphy, or etching, but which I have encountered as a sort of "sideways" request (The word sideways comes to mind from dipping into Alan Barker's book "The Art of Looking Sideways").


Some years ago when I had small children, we had the problem of sitting everybody down at the dining-table. We were fed up with the ordinary rectangular table (you can't use the corners anyway and kids bump their head on them). An oval table seemed more appropriate, but this shape curves too steeply, and you waste a lot of table. My husband saw an article in Scientific American in the late 60's by Piet Hein- a true polymath. He had come up with a shape intermediate between a rectangle and an ellipse and has christened it "superellipse" All sorts of people asked about the dining table, and how they could make one, and we were always (and still are) asked for the formula

So, if you need to know how to mark one out here's how

The Birdcage

I have a studio in the south-west of France where I draw in the countryside around. One of my early pieces of metal sculpture is installed there, and I've recently noticed the way in which the early morning sun catches the birdcage and casts shadows on the stone walls. Intrigued by this ever-varying pattern (the colour of the sunlight, the fact that, sometimes the shadows are diffused by the mists). I have recorded some of these on the birdcage page.

Tiles and Puzzles

When I was a child, I remember having a small sliding block puzzle, with little plastic numbers from 1 to 15 in a 4 x 4 frame. You could move the blocks about by moving a block into a vacant space, and the idea was to get the numbers into some regular pattern, like:

 1  2  3  4
 5  6  7  8
 9 10 11 12
13 14 15
 1  2  3  4
12 13 14  5
11    15  6
10  9  8  7

Now we're in the IT age, real things have fallen by the wayside, and you don't see these amusing toys any more. Still, there's a computer version for you to try.

The other puzzle in this group is one originally made by my husband for our children. It consisted of 24 wooden tiles, each divided into 4 quadrants, and coloured in all possible ways using three colours. The one we had used red, blue and green quadrants. The object of the game was to assemble the tiles into a 6 x 4 rectangle so that each adjacent tile had corresponding colours on the edges, and the border was all of the same colour. It gave hours of fun, but has long since had its pieces lost. Never mind, there's a computer version to waste time on!

Page last updated 13 June 2011