Tactile Fractal Engravings with TaraRoys

Running your finger along the heightened trails here shows how fractals are full of shrinking, self-similar bits.

Running your finger along the heightened trails here shows how fractals are full of shrinking, self-similar bits.

The beautiful "brushstroke" texture employed here made for one of the most pleasing engravings to run your fingers along.

The beautiful "brushstroke" texture employed here made for one of the most pleasing engravings to run your fingers along.

Clear, smooth patterns illustrate the increasing depth of a fractal iteration.

Clear, smooth patterns illustrate the increasing depth of a fractal iteration.

We produced six 4" x 6" artistic engravings.

We produced six 4" x 6" artistic engravings.

This large panel engraving demonstrates that ANY starting shape will produce a sierpinski gasket when the fractal tiling rules are applied. While the bumps on the left and right don't show very well visually, there's a very distinct texture there.

This large panel engraving demonstrates that ANY starting shape will produce a sierpinski gasket when the fractal tiling rules are applied. While the bumps on the left and right don't show very well visually, there's a very distinct texture there.

Three more exampled of fractal tiling using different starting shapes.

Three more exampled of fractal tiling using different starting shapes.

Finally, the full collection I sent off. All engraved out of 1/4" cherry plywood.

Finally, the full collection I sent off. All engraved out of 1/4" cherry plywood.

I was contacted by one of my favorite fractal artists, TaraRoys, about a cool project she had in mind. Inspired by a conversation with a blind art accessibility consultant who works with the Chicago Museum of Art, she wanted to produce tactile fractal engravings to present fractal art in a tangible way. She's watched as I've learned how to use the laser for fractal engravings and reached out to see if we could combine our skills in the name of artistic accessibility. Over the next few weeks, I coached her through the engraving design process while she came up with a clever assortment of touch-able designs and some documentation to explain them. (Check out a web copy of that tutorial on TaraRoy's GitHub: https://gist.github.com/tararoys/45685f5b2c3536033e651cadf486734a)

19 hours of laser engraving later, we had a project ready to send. This was a lot of fun to work on, and just goes to show how many cool, passionate people hang out in the fractal community.

Check out more of TaraRoys awesome fractal art at https://www.deviantart.com/tararoys