Item 21: THE SHAKER WEAVE BOX

Overview
Dimensions: 6 ¾” x 10 15/16” x 4.5”
Materials: Cherry, Brass
Finish: Boiled Linseed Oil
Interior: Two removable trays, each with 4 sections
Top: Basket weave
Hinges: Cherry
Inspirations: Shaker, Fibonacci
The Detailed Story
The design of the box and materials were inspired by the simplicity of
traditional Shaker furniture and boxes. The wooden hinges and clean
lines reflect this influence.
The hidden influence used in this design is a mathematical formula
known as the Golden Mean or Fibonacci Numbers. This formula quite
literally is the math behind the art. Leonardo of Pisa (aka Fibonacci)
was an Italian mathematician back in the 1200s. He developed a sequence
of numbers that are found to occur in nature in an almost eerie
frequency. The sequence is simple, add the two previous number to get
the next number. Here is an example:
0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233…
0 + 1 = 1
1 + 1 = 2
1 + 2 = 3
3 + 2 = 5
3 + 5 = 8
Why is this important? Nature has found that in many cases the most
efficient configurations or forms are consistent with these numbers. So
what does this have to do with design and art? Our brains tend to find
things designed around the ratios of these numbers to be pleasing,
therefore, artists for centuries have intentionally designed paintings,
buildings, music, and other art forms around these ratios. A quick
example is in photography. Have you ever heard of the “rule of thirds”?
This “rule” states that you should try to set up your subjects,
horizons, and other focal points along a set of imaginary lines in the
picture. The lines divide the picture in thirds vertically and
horizontally. The reason, because a perfectly centered subject is not
as pleasing to the eye as one that is slightly off center.
The picture is divided into 9 rectangles. The camera is positioned to
have major objects along the imaginary lines. Again this rule is in
place to help make the image more pleasing to the eye. So, how do we
get from the Fibonacci string to rule of thirds and then to a basket
top box? The picture below is a rectangle that has squares in it that
are the numbers in the sequence above 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8. The entire
rectangle is 8 units x 13 units (13 is the next number in the
sequence). The dividing line between the 8 square and the rest of the
squares is dividing the entire 8×13 rectangle into 1/3 and
2/3.


So now we are starting to connect nature to math. You can see the
nautilus shell has the same spiral pattern as the Fibonacci squares.
You will see the same thing in many flowers, pine cones, ferns, shells,
claws, etc in nature.
Now, lets discuss the connection to the box and design in general. Lets
start with the inner trays. You will notice that they are similar to
the picture above with the progressively smaller boxes. In this design
the smaller 1, 1, boxes were omitted because they would be too small to
be functional. Next lets look at the overall size of the box. The
Fibonacci ratio is 1.618. This is the average of the change from one
number in the sequence to the other. For example, the diagram above was
8 units x 13 units. If we take 8 and multiply it by 1.618 we get 12.944
or approximately 13. The wood box dimensions are 6.75” x 10.94”. If we
take 6.75” and multiply it by 1.618 we get 10.92”. So the box is close
to a perfect “Golden Rectangle”
Lastly, let’s look at the basket weave. The frame around the top is 1”
wide. Lets change that 1” to quantity (8) 1/8ths of an inch. In keeping
with the Fibonacci sequence, we want to use things that are 1, 1, 2, 3,
5, 8, 13… In this case, the strips of veneer in the basket are 2/8”,
3/8”, 5/8”, and the frame is 8/8”. The vertical strips are all 5/8”
wide. The horizontal pattern is:


