Table of Contents - Volume 7, number 2 (June 2002) - 24 pages
Martin Probert is admired worldwide for his fanciful, fun-filled string figure creations. The four small upright loops in this three-dimensional string figure represent seedlings beginning to sprout in a newly planted vegetable garden. A similar figure having two upright loops appeared in the December 1999 issue (‘Four-eyed Fish’ from Guyana).
‘Vegetables in a Garden’ is a variation of ‘Pool Table’ from the June 1998 issue. In ‘Pool Table’ the four small loops hang down beneath the figure, but in this figure they stand up. The difference results from the type of twist introduced into the index and ring finger loops during the figure’s manufacture (half twist versus full twist). Use a thick stiff string for this figure.
Rather than being abstract designs, Inuit string figures are often realistic representations of everyday objects. This novel figure, which represents a pair of trousers, does not appear when initially formed. To reveal the zig-zag motifs that represent bent legs, the maker must plunge the left thumb and index down through the center of the figure to eliminate a half twist in each loop. Only then will the trousers magically appear as strings coil around the frame lines.
This net-like string figure, which represents a hammock, looks complex but is actually very easy to make. After suspending a doubled loop between the left hand and foot, the figure is woven by the right hand using a series of repetitive movements. The rhythmic quality of these movements is soothing and mimics the kinesthetic pleasure one derives from swinging in a hammock.
The traditional method outlined below instructs you to use your toe, but you can easily substitute a doorknob or a helper’s finger.
This recently invented string figure represents an ornately carved low-backed chair, the type a respected elder would occupy in a traditional Chinese household. The figure begins with the Cat’s Cradle opening and ends with movements borrowed from Jacob’s Ladder. Since the chair’s seat is formed by a loose loop that projects forward, a stiff string is recommended.
Yukio Shishido’s innovative creations never cease to amaze those who learn to make them. In many cases each hand performs a different movement, yet the resulting pattern is often symmetrical. Shishido is most admired for his geometric and three-dimensional figures.
Here is a delicate three-dimensional butterfly. Nearly everyone finds butterflies beautiful and fascinating to watch.
Here is a fun string figure for two people that depicts a modern delta wing jet plane. You will need two strings for this one. The figure looks even better when the two strings differ in color.
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