Starting the Toys on Hive community has invigorated many childhood memories for me. Things I used to play with but totally forgot. The other week, before UK went into lockdown, I was browsing in the shops and came across a box of spiral art In fact, I never knew it's called spiral art, I didn't even know it had a name.
When I got home, I looked on the internet and found quite a lot on sale. Most of them were very colourful, not what I was looking for. I wanted something basic, just like what I had when I was a kid. I found some in the end.
Now I had my spiral art set, all I needed was a sketch pad and some colour pens, and I was ready to go.
So what exactly is spiral art? The best I can explain is structured doodle. There are a series of different size wheels with cogs on the outside, and many holes in the centre. You place a wheel inside a frame which also has cogs, and then you place a pen inside anyone of the holes on the wheel and move it around the frame. The size of the wheel and the position of the holes on the wheel determines the pattern. And that's the fun of all this as you don't know what the pattern will be like.
I've been having an awful lot of fun since I bought my spiral set. The first few I did were a bit messy and I over did it. More on that in a minute. With the frames, you can move the wheels on the outside as well, but there is less pattern variation. Apart from the circular frame, there's also a longinsh frame like a ruler. Again I think there is less pattern using that.
The first set of pens I got off the internet bled on the paper, I didn't realise they were felt pens and spoilt everything. You can see the blotch on the page above. So I had to get a second set of ball point ones. They were much better. And now I am really having fun.
Spiral art is very fascinating because you never what pattern may come up. Well, you can if you have a very good memory. There are fifteen wheels, the smallest one has four holes, and the largest one maybe twenty? Even holes adjacent to one another on the same wheel may generate a different pattern.
You can predict some, like holes in the centre of a larger wheel will have a pattern concentrated in the center due to less movement, whilst holes on the smallest wheel with give a pattern that borders the outside. Other than that, it's all a guessing game. You don't know how many times the wheel will rotate to form a complete pattern, how far out the turns will go and how many turns are in a pattern etc. And that's why it's so fun. Once the rotation is completed, you can either leave it as is, or in my case, I like to do two more different ones and hope they don't overlap with each other. I find doing three is the maximum, any more, it gets too messy. Less is more.
And finally, once you add in the different colors, the end results are just amazing. I don't think I've done a repeated doodle yet as the combinations are just limitless.
By the way, in case you're wondering how to get a perfect pattern...I remember when I was playing this as a kid, my mum gave me some pins to secure the frame so it wouldn't move. Now people use blue tac instead. It's much more convenient. Anyway, I get lost in time playing with this, as everytime I finish a pattern, which only takes a minute or two, I want to move onto the next one to see what surprises await me.
Have you played with any toys before that fascinates you like this?
THE TOILET ROLL CONTEST
The Toys on Hive community are currently hosting our second contest with 50 Hive prize pool. The contest closes on 25th January and you will need at least three toilet rolls to enter!! Check out our announcement post here for more information.