When I was a child we loved playing “Sardines” where one child would hide, and the rest, would hunt for them. When you find them, you quietly had to join the hider. As more children were successful, we were all packed into the hiding place, trying to stop giggling as the stragglers kept searching. In this tessellation, sardines pack into the plane.
They not only tessellate, but trace the path of a plane-filling curve, commencing and ending at the lower apex of the hexagon. The path is picked out in gold by textile craftsmen, with the kind assistance of Indonesian textile artist Baron Manaungsan.
Unusually for a tessellation, this is not one tile per creature, but each tile has parts of different creatures – tails, heads, and mid-sections. The sardines created are of different lengths, depending on where they occur along the path. From a distance 3 related patterns appear. Once is the curvaceous gold thread that traces the path, the other is the wider gap that is very obvious from a distance, and the third is the narrow gap that follows an arabesque branching version of the gold path.
This design is inspired by the textile designs of Indonesia, where there is a tradition of working over batik cloths with gold leaf. Often this will pick out elements of the patterns, as in this example, other styles overlay a completely unrelated motif or design over the batik. Batiks themselves are often tessellations, and the “chop” version is created with copper stamps which are themselves stunning works of art and craftsmanship.