Why? Well, Iâve always been a fan. The first Christmas I spent with my then wife-to-be she gave me a small laminated copy of the Periodic Table â I donât know how she knew I was a fan, but I still have it in my wallet.
It might be considered a bit weird to be a fan of a table, but I admire the way it combines science and design. Now, the science but is obvious, but design? Itâs just a lot of blocks isnât it? Well, yes, but itâs a very clever arrangement of blocks, and a big part of design is arranging things in a way that conveys additional information. For example, itâs arranged into groups and periods â elements that share a group show trends for some properties, as do elements that share a period. In other words, itâs not just a list of elements, itâs a map, a landscape. Each element doesnât sit in insolation, but in a context, surrounded by itâs similar but different neighbours. I also love the way that it isnât a perfect grid, some groups are bigger than others, because itâs mapping a natural phenomena, not a man-made thing.
Okay, but I havenât forgotten that this is a craft blog, not some bizarre chemistry fan-boy blog.
Luckily, the Periodic Table of Elements has been borrowed and remixed in some arty and crafty ways. Letâs get started.
â˘ How about an actual table? Theodore Grayâs wonderful Wooden Periodic Table Table shows a huge amount of old-time craftsmanship. To quote its builder âFor well over a hundred years the world has failed to take proper notice of the word “Table” clearly contained in the name of the famous Periodic Table of the Elements.âÂ (Incidentally, donât be put off by the somewhat 90âs looking website â itâs well worth following some of the links.)
â˘ Sticking with wood, but on a smaller scale, these Periodic Table Building Blocks are a set of solid wood building blocks. It makes sense if you think about it; elements are the building blocks of the universe, after all.
â˘ But why restrict ourselves to real elements? Russell Walksâ Periodic Table of Imaginary Elements collates made-up elements from film, television, literature and games into a really nicely illustrated table. Indispensable for imaginary scientists!
â˘ Moving away from elements, we have the Periodic Table of Typefaces from SquidSpot. If youâre a font geek like me, I think youâll like this table of 100 fonts. And like the original table, itâs organised into groups, so that similar fonts cluster together.
â˘ From font geekery to, well, geek geekery – Mike Vasilevâs Periodic Table of Controllers shows the button layouts for dozens and dozens of console game controllers. This is another nice bit of illustration, and I like the minimalist focus on just the button layout.
â˘ I canât claim this one is particularly crafty, or an amazing bit of design, but I couldnât not link to the Periodic Table from the BBCâs âLook Around Youâ show. Any table with âNothingâ as an element gets my vote.
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