Sound Feelings Publishing is holding a Spirograph art contest. I got an e-mail about it. I didn’t know I was on the Sound Feelings Publishing mailing list, but I’m glad I am. I would hate to miss a chance to write about not entering a contest.
Sound Feelings Publishing is holding a Spirograph art contest.
I got an e-mail about it. I didn’t know I was on the Sound Feelings Publishing mailing list, but I’m glad I am. I would hate to miss a chance to write about not entering a contest.
Nothing against the contest itself. I have minimal artistic talent and almost never win contests, so to even feign interest in entering is probably pointless.
Spirograph first became popular in the late ‘60s. Prior to that, it wasn’t as popular, because it did not yet exist.
I was too young for the original Spirograph craze. I had to settle for Spirotot, designed for fledgling, wanna-be Spirographers. No Spirotot contests have surfaced, to my knowledge. But I’m not here to talk about the past.
The Spirograph contest rules state that designs must be drawn with a multicolor pen that has the four original Spirograph colors (black, blue, red and green). But, the rules continue, “they also include fun and creative rainbow colors: yellow, light blue, pink, purple, brown, and orange.”
That’s the exact quote, although Sound Feelings included an exclamation point. I omitted that. The rules didn’t excite me at all.
This all sounds reasonable, except for the pen. I think it’s wrong to allow ink that falls outside of the original Spirograph spectrum. If you can’t create artwork from hypotrochoids using plastic gears while limiting yourself to black, blue, red and green, you’re no artist at all.
Reading about the contest nudged me to circle in on the history of Spirograph. I didn’t realize the toy involved so much math. On Wikipedia, there’s a section titled “mathematical basis.”
“Let R be the radius of the stationary circle C centered at the origin, and r to be the radius of the inner mobile circle c. Let the interior side of C be divided into N teeth and the outer side of C into M teeth.”
That is followed by a complex equation featuring parentheticals, fractions and good ol’ pi. I’ve taken calculus courses that involved less math.
I clicked on some related links, and that’s when my research began to spiral out of control.
Spirograph was introduced in 1965 at Nuremberg International Toy Fair. Until that point, I hadn’t heard of it. You learn something new every day. Then I read about Bruno Abakanowicz. Until that point, I hadn’t heard of him. You learn something new every day.
Next, I encountered a link about the integraph, which I once assumed was a device used to send integers via Morse code. I was wrong, in a roundabout way.
Dennis Volkert is features editor at the Sturgis (Mich.) Journal. Contact him at email@example.com.