Monday, December 17, 2012


   The book of the week is titled Kaleidoscope. It's a flexagon-style book which contorts into six different patterns. Kaleidoscope is a little book about flexibility and balance... all the things we need to keep our world running smoothly.

Home, side 1: a refuge
By pushing in the side panels of the book, the whole thing can be transformed into a different pattern. Then, the apex is folded back and the new side lain flat...

Push in the sides to make a star-like form then fold the apex back...

Home, side 2: our community
Not only is Kaleidoscope about the sanctuary of our home and man-made communities, but it includes the environment and nature. Mother Earth is the entity that feeds us, gives us clean water and air, and awes us in its majestic beauty... and blasts us with it's powerful catastrophes.
Care of Earth, side 1: in our cities...

Care of Earth, side 2: in the forests and countryside.
The final chapter of Kaleidoscope is about finding joy and beauty through singing, dancing, and playing... our art. We first do this within our own psyche's and imagination. It's important to find this place of art within ourselves. Like an opening fan, we unfold layers of meaning and beauty in our world.

Sing Dance Play, side 1: our core...
And then, we take the hands of others and join the dance, sing in chorus, and play on a team. It is that community that takes a single voice to a level more powerful than a man alone. 

Sing Dance Play, side 2: with others.

   Kaleidoscope really has no beginning or end, but flexes between the different panels on the whim of the person who holds the book. You should try it!

   Flexigon books are fascinating folded books. A flexagon has the appearance of a ring of hinged multi-sided panels, and has the intriguing property of displaying different arrays of faces when it is flexed. The individual panels in a flexagon, called leaves, are all identical. There are many variations of flexagons. Kaleidoscope, the simplest, is based on an equilateral triangle and is called a trihexaflexagon. The tetrahexaflexagon has four sides and is more complicated. There are also pentahexaflexagons (5-sided) and hexahexaflexagons (6-sided). To read more about flexagons and see directions to make some of these folded books on your own, check out:

   Arthur Stone, a Brittish mathematician, is said to have discovered flexigons in 1938 while playing with strips of paper as a graduate student at Princeton University. Several of his colleagues went on to explore the range of simple and complex flexigon structures and their mathematical relationships. Not only are flexagons fun play-toys and interesting book structures, but have led to innovations in conceptualizing complex chemical, physical, and mathematical phenomena.  Wow!