tessellation of chubby unicorns
  Tessellations from Villa Montessori elementary school, Phoenix, Arizona

tessellation of nuicorns

a Tessellation by Ryan

The theme here is fat unicorns. These unicrons are especially fattening because their wings are frosted with what appears to be vanilla icing... You know, like donuts.

Ryan's art is aaaaalmost a tessellation: those "tile" shapes-- those calorically challenged unicorns-- can completely fill a 2D surface without gaps, and can almost do it without overlaps. Look at the horns and ears. See how, in the middle of the picture, they cover the upper unicorns' front hooves? That's an overlap. With 5 minutes and using both ends of a pencil, though, Ryan can fix that small oversight.

All Ryan has to do is say "I meant to do that. The ears separate the front legs from the chest, and the horns are wedged into the split in the unicorns' goatlike front hooves." Then ryan has to put the same indentations in the lower unicorns' hooves & armpits. Then all the unicorns will be identical, and there will be no overlaps. Done, finito, it'll be a perfect tessellation.

Ryan used the Paper Cut method to make his tessellation of exceptional-girth sugar frosted unicorns. Ordinarily, I would gripe about how the Paper Cut method makes the job of the artist harder, by introducing unforgiving scissor cuts too early. The Paper Cut method makes editing the outlines difficult, which is presumably why these unicorns have a somewhat unconventional silhouette: once the "tile" is cut out of card stock, it's hard to tweak it so it looks more like the theme.

However, presumably Ryan got a really close look at these gravitationally-challenged unicorns because those wings were covered in ice. Other people who claim to have seen unicorns probably didn't get a good look because they were looking at ...ummm... faster unicorns that quickly flew away. So, who are we to say that Ryan's image isn't exactly what unicorns are supposed to look like? Hey, I'm a little chubby too, and like these unicorns, my upper extremities are covered with sugar frosting after I feast on each morning's donuts.

This tessellation repeats via the translation (slide) method. That means the unicorns are all flying slowly in one direction, like migrating birds. I think they're going to a donut shop opening nearby.Unicorns-- and the astronomers they adore-- love donuts.

This tessellation is a clear example of the "TTTT" type in the Heesch tessellation classification system. That means, if we repeat the pattern forever, each tile touches four other tiles (that's why there are 4 "T"s and limited parking facilities), and translation* (represented by each "T") is the only way they repeat.

* Nota Bene on the translation: In Unicornese, "frosted donut" is pronounced "Harharneeeptht-ptht". Repeat until chubby.