Creativity Today

A Different Way to Live Life

The Rainbow Loom Craze

Every summer there’s a new craze to entertain kids in camp and on the beach. This summer it’s Rainbow Loom, a kit that features a loom, a hook, a mini loom, and small, multi-colored rubber bands. Using the materials in this kit, weavers can make beautiful rubber band bracelets easily and quickly.

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A Peruvian woman weaving textiles. Credit: commons.wikimedia.org.

Weaving is prominent in many elements of popular culture, such as the use of spinning wheels in stories such as Sleeping Beauty and Rumpelstiltskin.  Also, weaving is featured prominently in textiles, as well as in art forms such as tapestries. The art of weaving tapestries has been a popular art form for many centuries, and many of these tapestries are still on view today. I have seen many tapestries, but two of my favorites are The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries, which can be seen at the Musée National du Moyen Age in Paris (and are the subject of a fabulous book by Tracy Chevalier) and The Unicorn in Captivity tapestry at the Cloisters Museum in New York City.

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The Lady and the Unicorn “Sight” tapestry. Credit: commons.wikimedia.org.

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The Unicorn in Captivity tapestry. Credit: commons.wikimedia.org.

The Rainbow Loom.

The Rainbow Loom.

Simpler weaving techniques have been created, though, that allow everyone to create art projects such as potholders, bracelets, and keychains, with materials such as cotton, rubber bands, and string. Rainbow Loom is one such example, but it distinguishes itself by providing instant gratification. Although I do love making pot holders and string bracelets, the one setback to these two activities is the longer amount of time required to complete them. With Rainbow Loom, on the other hand, anyone can make beautiful, complicated bracelets in a matter of minutes.

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My collection of rubber bands in a Plano box.

One of my favorite steps in the process of Rainbow Looming is choosing my color combination. The Rainbow Loom kit comes with a pack of assorted colors, but packs of individual colors are available for purchase as well. These colors range from turquoise to glow-in-the-dark to tie dye, and I always enjoy mixing and matching all of the colors to create infinite possibilities of bracelets. It’s also fun to use school or camp colors to add spirit to the process. Creating bracelets is especially intriguing for anyone who loves patterns, for each bracelet can be made using a host of possible patterns, both in the style of the weave itself and the order and arrangement of the colors. And these bracelets can be made anywhere, from the beach to restaurants to the car, which allows for endless fun, all the time. In addition, the creativity of organization comes into play with Rainbow Loom, for you can buy Plano boxes to store all of your Rainbow Loom rubber bands for easy access.

Furthermore, the Rainbow Loom company has created instructional videos online that explain step-by-step how to create all of the different Rainbow Loom patterns. But the best part is that there are still new Rainbow Loom patterns being invented, which gives you the opportunity to experiment and see what happens!

My "teardrop" Rainbow Loom bracelet.

My “Raindrops” Rainbow Loom bracelet.

My "original" Rainbow Loom bracelet.

My “Original” Rainbow Loom bracelet.

My "liberty twistz" Rainbow Loom bracelet.

My “Liberty Twistz” Rainbow Loom bracelet.

My block-color "fishtail" bracelet.

My block-color “Fishtail” bracelet.

A Rainbow Loom style that I invented.

A Rainbow Loom style that I invented.

My "flower" Rainbow Loom bracelet.

My “Flower” Rainbow Loom bracelet.

My "Double Rhombus 2" bracelet.

My “Double Rhombus 2” bracelet.

Creative challenge:

This leads me to my creative challenge of the day: use a rainbow loom to create bracelets of your own! Look online at Rainbow Loom’s instructional videos to learn new techniques. Start simply and then move on to more intricate designs. Enjoy your creations!

As a second challenge, find a weaving community or class in your area and join in. If you’re in New York City, try Loop of the Loom.

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What is your favorite bracelet style to make and what are your favorite color combinations to use? Comment below to discuss.

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The Science of Art

This past weekend, while visiting the Holiday Fair at Grand Central Station in New York City, I came upon a very interesting booth called “Internal Fire Glass.” Naturally, this sparked my curiosity, and I immediately went in to the booth. Once there, I saw beautiful glass marbles of varying sizes that contained optical illusions: if you held a marble in your hand and looked down into it, the pattern inside the marble seemed as if it was spiraling down below your hand. As a huge fan of optical illusions, I immediately fell in love with this art form.

One of Scott Pernicka's marbles.

One of Scott Pernicka’s marbles.

I began to talk to Scott Pernicka, the creator of these marbles, about his amazing creations. I soon learned that he was very interested in combining art and physics to create his own amazing, unique design.

One of the necklaces I designed.

One of the necklaces I designed.

This especially caught my attention because I have always enjoyed finding creativity within fields with which creativity is not commonly associated. For example, I love to design jewelry, which is commonly thought of as a creative art. It is true that, upon first glance, this hobby of mine seems to solely relate to art; however, looking more closely, jewelry designing can also fall under the categories of math and science.

My jewelry designs are often based on distinctive patterns I create in my mind, and this fascination with creating patterns can most certainly be attributed to my love of mathematics, which involves finding patterns both in mathematical formulas and in the surrounding world. One example of this is the tessellation, a pattern that repeats over and over with no gaps or overlaps. This same concept of patterns can also be attributed to science, as can be seen with Scott Pernicka’s marbles, as well as with Newton’s Cradle, which, when its spheres are dropped in certain ways, creates patterns through the spheres’ movements.

Creative challenge:

And so, I present to you the creative challenge of the day: design a pattern that appeals to you. This pattern could be in a tessellation, a jewelry design, a sketch, a poem, a sculpture, or anything else you can think of.

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In your daily life, what types of creative activities do you participate in? Which fields do these activities relate to? Are there any fields that you gravitate more towards? If so, why? Comment below to discuss.

Be sure to check out Facebook and Twitter for more information on Internal Fire Glass and visit the Grand Central Station Holiday Fair up until December 24 to see the remarkable Internal Fire Glass marbles for yourself.

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