Online Article by Amy Potter
North Coast News Article
For North Coast News
Fly by drone shot
Justin The Circler showing some techniques. Photo by: Scott Johnston
Beach ‘Circler’ crafts intricate sand designs
For North Coast News
Mathematician, inventor, artist, teacher and more, “Justin the Circler” has developed what he and others have found to be an effective equation for an exciting and educational experience combining art and geometry with active individual and group participation.
It’s his take on the ancient craft of “Geo-Scribing.”
Justin, who splits his time between Ocean Shores and Bothell, went to the beach just north of the Damon Road approach on a Saturday afternoon in late March to give a free demonstration of the ideas and hands-on fun he offers as Justin The Circler. He returns to the North Coast next month. After a private school event on a Seabrook area beach, he will do a pair of free open-to-the-public demonstrations in Ocean Shores, on the beach just south of the Pacific Boulevard approach, at noon on May 19 and 20.
The foundation of his workshops, he explained, is the “ancient or sacred geometry” found in any circle. He and a fellow “geo-scribe” used a simple rope, with a stick tied to one end and a rake or scraping tool on the other, to trace a gigantic circle in the sand. The remaining elements are some basic instructions, followed by a loosely guided process of exploring the possibilities that emerge from the mix of artistry and creativity, public participation and interactive efforts.
Over about four cool and breezy hours on March 24, dozens of people came by to observe and participate. Some were friends or Facebook followers who had seen notices of the event, while others were just curious beachcombers and people out for a seaside stroll. Justin invited folks to join in, serving up small slices of instruction along with hefty helpings of warm encouragement.
His website, turningcircles123.com, explains that enthusiastic participants often find their experiences are memorable, while the art created ranges from fairly simple to spectacularly complex. It’s all fleeting though, as the next high tide washes away the beach art, just as the next rainfall removes the versions done with chalk on pavement.
He said his two-day event May 19-20 will “focus on individual creations and teach some interesting techniques and strategies to creating mandalas” on Saturday. “Sunday we will focus on a large, group design that will incorporate techniques learned to one huge design.”
He encourages everyone to participate as much or as little as suits each person. “You don’t have to join for both days, you don’t need to be an artist, just be cool and curious, pick a day and do something new,” he said.
Justin began to become Justin the Circler around 2010 when he was doing mathematics on the driveway while his daughter drew rainbows with sidewalk chalk. According to his website, “The oversize number theories, algebraic endeavors, and geometric constructions filled the driveway and looked as if they held great power compared to his illegible notebooks. The large mathematics also had an appealing hint of madness as only he could decipher the glyphs.
“While on a sandy beach in Mexico he searched for sticks and rope to make a compass with. He drew his first perfect circle design in the sand…” and Justin The Circler sprang into being.
He offers his workshops, particularly those done for schools, as “supplemental education” that combines learning with hands-on fun. To that end, he has developed large scale, user-friendly tools such as the giant compasses he used at the beach. He tailors the workshop and educational events to a variety of levels, settings and functions, from simple second grade geometry to corporate team building. In addition to the website, he has a Facebook page, Justin The Circler.
One of the challenges faced with ground-level art on a massive scale is being able to actually view the process, as well as the finished product, in its entirety.
Fortunately, Justin had arranged for a couple of young, local entrepreneurs to be on hand to address that need. Steven Toney and Connor Robinson have just launched MercuryAir Productions in Ocean Shores and used their small drone to shoot video of the March event. – end of article –
The geoglyphs in Peru known as the Nazca Lines are usually images of animals or eerie humanoid designs but there is one that stands out called the Sun-Star. I believe this is a design for squaring the circle.
Neither of these pics show the actual design but uses an overlay graphic that obscures the actual image. This is unfortunate because it seems something is lost or taken from the original. I could not find a clean picture of it on the web so I made my own and started to do the math.
In the designing I found adding the larger circle to the outside is a decent approximation to the ancient problem of squaring the circle. (finding a square and circle of the same perimeter or area) In this case the outer circle is about 92% of the perimeter of the square’s and the square has about 94% of the circles’s area. So this simple design approximates both the area and perimeter, a very hard thing to achieve.
Squaring the circle is an very ancient problem that has drove intellectuals literally crazy. It is impossible to construct a perfect solution to this problem but it was not known as impossible until 1882. It is easy to prove something is possible by just finding a solution but very hard to prove something is impossible. This takes a logical argument built on sound axioms.
There is a spiritual aspect to this exercise as well. The circle is mystical and not measurable while the square is very measurable and known. This is like knowing the infinite (God) with tools built from the finite (human). Humans attempting to know the mind of God is a perfect analogy to squaring the circle and is why the ancients were so concerned with this problem. We have now replaced these ideas with science but science itself pursues the same mystical problem of knowing ourselves, the Universe, and our place within it all. We are the squares trying to match ourselves with the circular universe.
This is a hidden section of Britas Bay on the East Irish coast. Another cold day while the tide chases me up the beach. No symmetry here just a free flow of organic shapes and curls. Usually do a bit more geometry I’m trying to expand a bit more since meeting the two Irish sand crews from the last post.
It was a wet Irish day and I had the privileged to meet up with others who draw on the ground. Sean Corcoran and Joe Lonergan from the The Art Hand took us around their local beaches to show off their sandy canvases.
Sara Kubiak and Matthew Hart from West Cork Sand Circles tend to have a crop circle influence while Joe and Sean are more free form with their organic shapes. I was intrigued by their tools, methods and origin stories. It is wonderful to meet others that have developed their craft in complete isolation but yet have the same issues, ideas and concepts.
Sean took us back to his colorful home filled with his own art and back into his invention room to share an idea he was working on for a new tool – top secret. This was exciting because we all independently had a similar thought to create a specific effect on the sand but each of us had a slightly different variation on the tool that would be best used. We swapped ideas and will be expecting to see this effect show up in our next pieces. Let the innovation begin!
I tend to keep designs small and focus on the perfection and geometry of the shapes but now spending some time with these two Irish crews I am inspired to go big when I get back to the beach. I will plan on some large events that will have a set design and will take many helping rakes to complete. Thanks to you all!
All numbers have a personality and the four’s personality is of balance, stability and knowledge. We use it to build our structures, to layout a coordinate system and to even navigate our way across the earth with our cardinal directions (N,S,E,W). Perpendicular and parallel lines are inherent to the square and even show up when writing the number four. Perpendicular and parallel lines are how we come to know things in the material world and this is why the square is symbolic for knowledge.
These designs may look like they take a long time to construct but they do not. With a few foundation concepts in natural geometry, they are laid out in minutes and most of the time is spent thinking about what to do with the controlling geometry that lays waiting.
Twelve will always be drawn in the sand due to its perfect geometric construction and usefulness in organizational and mathematical properties. In this design, Justin The Circler tried many different textures on the sand to gain understanding of the sand’s composure on that cold day. Cold sand is great for geoscribing because it holds its shape and feels tighter.
Two circles combined to make what is known as the Vesica Pisces (fish bladder). This is that small seed shape in the midst of the circles and is the most important construction in sacred geometry. It is sometimes called the birth canal of the universe. Then two larger arcs come together to make what I call the House of Gold because it has the golden ratio (1,618…) within the midst of its arced walls. Then taking one of the central distances (line) creates a perfect division of the House of Gold into six parts as the six circles show this. I was very excited to work this simple but lost construction out and bring it back from the dead 3 years ago. Grab a compass and try to construct it.