Who has ever seen a Cat Star?

cat star

It is the first time and my great pleasure to welcome a special guest to RobertapucciLab blog. Simona Moundrouvalis is a graphic designer from Vicenza, Daniele’s mother, curious researcher.

She designed this idea during a RobertapucciLab personalized course and will present it herself. Welcome Simona and thanks for sharing one of your beautiful creative projects!

Who has ever seen a Cat Star?

By Simona Moundrouvaliss.moundrouvalis@gmail.com

This is a creative starting point you can use to invent infinite kind of stars, as there are infinite stars in the Universe and equally endless ways to imagine them. It was presented for the first time in a Public Library Library in Vicenza, a city in the northeast of Italy, and I hope now it is going to arrive in many houses, all around the world.

Many different stars will be born from and they will be unique as every human being express herself in a unique way.

How were the very first stars born in the Universe? Where they come from?

A simple and clear explanation I really like, is the following by the “Lady of the Stars”, the extraordinary scientist and astrophysicist Margherita Hack:

There are no certainties in science. We try, with experiment and observation, to discover the laws that govern the Universe. […] Studying it and observing it, we discovered that, once upon a time, the Universe was small, small, small and hot, hot, hot. Then, it began to inflate like a balloon and the temperature started to drop and stars formed. And after thousands of thousands of thousands of years it has become what we know today.

From “20 Ways to Draw a Star and 44 Other Far-out Wonders from the Sky and Galaxy” by Sally S. Swindell and Nate Padavick

How drawing a star?

As a starting point, I have borrowed an idea by the great designer Bruno Munari, from his book “Fantasia”:

A leaf can be explored to make its hidden relationships visible.

Starting from the tracing of an oak leaf, Munari has drawn its outline and got out of it a pattern made up of dots. Then he has connected these points in many different ways, creating different relationships between them.

Everyone will find their own shapes but always in relation to the leaf. (…) The variations are personal and infinite.

Picture from the book “Fantasia” by Bruno Munari

I am going to propose to you a set of dots myself, that I got starting from the expansion of a central point: that small and hot material point that has exploded into a myriad of points, through rotations around its center, with progressively greater radii… BIG BANG!

Now try to connect the dots. There are endless possibilities! For example, you can start joining some points to create a closed shape: a 4, 5, 6, 10-pointed star …

Here are some of the possible shapes, which can be traced with the help of a ruler or freehand (varying the type of line).

Starting from the same basic scheme, very different shapes will come out: small or large, symmetrical or asymmetrical, common or bizarre, straight or crooked, simple or complex, through your personal, creative exploration.

The shapes can also be combined with each other to create more complex structures. I created the following examples by choosing some dots in a symmetrical way.

To facilitate those wishing to get regular shapes, I recommend highlighting some dots from time to time.

You can play by drawing lines, simple or broken, parallel or incident, horizontal or vertical. Using transparent paper, you can overlap different shapes to create more complex ones.

You can also create compositions by combining different geometric shapes, symmetrically or randomly.

The template can be download clicking here and printed in many copies, or you can create a stencil by piercing the dots with an awl (preferably on cardboard), in order to use it several times and possibly transfer the points also on different types of paper or other supports (cardboard , cloth, tinfoil, etc.).

As far as techniques and materials, there are no limits! The lines can be traced with markers, pencils, pastels, chalks. Shapes can be filled by colors or cut and eventually joined together with a brad. You can also create a stencil with the clipped template and, for example, use it with a sponge soaked in paints.

Another way is transfering the pattern onto a wooden board and place some tacks or pins on the chosen points to create intertwining wires, thin iron wire or pipe cleaners; or you can embroider the lines with needle and thread, on cardboard or felt.

Here are the stars created with my son Daniele during a rainy weekend. My favorite is the cat-star that stands out among all for that special fantasy, typical of children, that always amazes me!

If we let a beam of light pass through the holes of the stencil in the dark… we will all meet again in the space! Enjoy your exploration!

I sincerely thank Roberta, for hosting me on RobertapucciLab and, above all, for having accompanied me with her teachings and experience in a so inspiring journey.

I would like to share a wish by Margherita Hack that impressed me for her “scientific poetry” and that, during difficult times, can bring us closer to each other:

We all have a common origin, we are all children of the evolution of the Universe, of the evolution of the stars, and therefore we are really all brothers.

We are made of matter that has been created inside the stars. All the elements, from hydrogen to uranium, have been made in the nuclear reactions that take place in supernovae: these stars, much larger than the Sun, at the end of the their lives explode and scatter in the space the result of all the nuclear reactions that took place within them. Thus, we are all really children of the stars.

Aldo’s Tiny Houses

tiny paper houses

This is a short true Christmas story. It begins with a memory and ends with a gift for whoever will read it.
Childhood memories are made of objects, materials, smells, colors. In one of my best ones, there are some tiny houses for the Nativity scene that my father built with cardboard of shoe boxes and then painted with tempera colors.
Trying to relive that feeling again, I built some similar houses my way, using materials that were familiar to me: paper, pencil, squares, colored pencils, glue stick, scissors, magazines.

Aldo’s houses had small lights inside and holes in the walls for windows and doors. This detail recalls another image: my sister and I in the back seats of the car, on Sunday evening, looking at the houses quickly sliding along the way. Each house had its own story, or rather it was a a microcosm, a container of stories. Their attraction was irresistible: it passed through the lighted windows and pressed my face against the car window glass.
All of this could not be missing in my paper houses: a thin thread of lights passed through the windows holes and, if necessary, was adjusted through the roof opening.

But also some innovations have appeared in my remake, like unexpected shadows inside when the lights turn on, plants, animals and roomers, tiny collage details in the outer walls.

There is an inside and an outside in every home:

you can come and go,
much comes out of what is inside, but not everything;

much comes in of what is outside, but not everything,
sometimes it stops at the door and stands there, but nobody opens…

I suddenly recalled this poem by my friend Giusi Quarenghi.

I found them quite nice but too light and even too pleased with the meticulous engravings: they didn’t look nothing like Aldo’s ones (maybe looking a little like “me”?). My disappointment was great: they lacked the material, the thickness, the roughness, the earth colors, the imperfect of reality.

So what to do? I looked for the original ones and found some inside a cathode ray tube television, where many years ago my father built an anti-cat Nativity scene, reusing some old stuff.

I finally refound everything was missing in my new houses: a support base, the consistency of the cardboard, a deliberately rough finishing, the naturalness of asymmetry. I discovered many details, so that I could imagine how thoughts and hands worked together in the creative process.

What should a house be like? A special building project came to my mind: a district of Correggio, a small town near Reggio Emilia, where a group of houses were designed together with children. Transparent, hard outside, soft inside, large, playful, decorated, intimate, peaceful, magical: these were the most important qualities of a home according to the opinion of the involved children.

Maybe that’s the point: we need different, even opposite qualities, which compensate each other and respond to different needs. Thus, everyone can bring their own qualities to their houses. What are yours? What kind of house will come out from your hands?
Big or small, silent or noisy, wooden or stone’s, stable or mobile, a nest, a cave, a tent, or a “terra cotta” one…

The story is over, but could go on. The opening roof can turn the house into a small box: what will it contain? If you would like to build your own one, just subscribe to the newsletter and write your request to info@robertapuccilab.com.
So good luck to all the home creators.
Many thanks to my father Aldo for his magical playhouses, to Ivan for digitizing the template, to all the home keepers, visible and invisible.

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