Ponderings on the number 5

Welcome to the blog of Maradadi Textiles. This site aims to present information on shibori techniques and gleanings on contemporary approaches to this ancient craft. Natural indigo dyeing goes hand in hand with shibori, and I would like to share what I know about the magic and mystery of the indigo vat. I live in Melbourne, and I use a fructose vat because it is the most suitable for this climate, especially in winter.

Occasionally, dear reader, please let me indulge in side tracks and fancies that I hope will be thought provoking. Spring is here; the wattle is in all its myriad shades of yellow and blossoms are bursting out everywhere. For the first time, it struck me how many flowers have a 5-petal arrangement. Just a quick stroll in the garden revealed the following examples: Plum blossom, Cymbidium orchid, Sweet violet. Why 5?

Having consulted the amazing world of the internet, it seems that the answer is in the mathematics of shapes. Five hexagons can be placed around a central pentagon to form a dome shape, which these five petal flowers exhibit. The cells of the plant’s flower tip are arranged similarly, and these cells grow into sepals, stamens, pistils and ovaries; all the parts of a flower.

Five Petals: the mysterious number 5 hidden in nature, Yutaka Nishiyama, International Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics, Volume 78, Number 3, 2012, 349-362.

5 is also the first number to be obtained by adding an odd and an even number together.

The endless patterns of nature provide an inexhaustible supply of inspiration which I use for my shibori work.





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