Book: The Language of Ornament

The Language of Ornament by James Trilling

I'm reading this now and it's fascinating because it brings the background into the foreground. It's the background of backgrounds. It focuses on the evolution of those patterns and styles that are primarily meant to enhance something else rather than be itself. It mentions that 12,000 years ago, people began using spirals to decorate objects. Before that, people made figures (paintings/carvings that were supposed to represent things they saw in the world) but spirals were an early and widespread purely decorative design. (Apparently across cultures.) Since I read this fact, I've been looking for spirals everywhere without finding them. There's something completely asymmetrical about a 2-D spiral, and I'm guessing it doesn't fit into the modern design palette. But I'm determined to find them. With the discovery that DNA is sort of a double-spiral, you'd think it would have an ornamental comeback. Have you seen any spirals out there?

Update: logos, symbols.com entry, archimedes' spiral.

Comments

Sometimes spirals are right under our noses, or fingers. There are nine basic types of finger prints, many in a spiral pattern. Perhaps this was the inspiration for the sprials across cultures.
Your finger is right under your nose? Gross!
Good book - we picked up a copy from the library.

Modern is out, rococo is in!
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