Islamic Geometry: Four-Fold Model

Now that you’ve learned how to make a six-fold model, you’re just a few steps away from turning your mother circle into a four-fold foundation. Four-fold patterns often contain shapes like squares, diamonds, octagons, and wonky forms with curvy lines.

You’ll notice that the instructions here are repetitive up until a point; this is so that anyone can start on this page without having to reference anything else.

1. Like any other geometric drawing, start by making a horizon line. Set your compass to any radius and keep it set at that width for the rest of the drawing. Now place your compass anywhere along the line and draw a full circle. This circle is often called the “mother circle” since it gives birth to the rest of the forms in the drawing. You’ll notice that the horizon line divides the mother circle perfectly into two halves.

2. Place your compass on the westernmost point of the mother circle – where it intersects with the horizon line – and draw another full circle. Do the same on the easternmost point. The east and west circle kiss each other right at the center of the mother circle.

3. Now, place your compass at any of the four points where the east and west circles intersect with the mother circle. Draw a full circle. Do the same at the other three points. You now have a rosette pattern with arcs that divide the mother circle into six equal parts.

4. Connect the large north and south “petals” that grow out of the mother circle. You now have a vertical bisector.

5. Place your compass at one of the two points where the vertical line crosses mother circle and draw a circle. Do the same at the other point. Like the east and west circles that you draw back in step 2, these circle touch at the center of the mother circle.

6. Connect the points where the vertical and horizontal bisectors cross the mother circle. This will make a square. This kind of square is called “dynamic” since it looks like it could topple over at any moment.

7. Find one of the four points where the north/south and east/west circles intersect. Now find the opposite – the one diagonally across the circle. Connect these points to create a diagonal bisector. Do the same on the other side to create an X.

8. Connect the points where the diagonal bisectors cross the mother circle. This will make a square. This kind of square is called “static” since it has a base to sit on.

9. You can also create a larger static square outside the mother circle by connecting the points you used in step 7 to make the diagonal bisector.

10. If you overlap the smaller static and dynamic square, you make an eight-pointed star. Another way to think of this is that you connected each of the eight points by skipping every other point.

11. If you connect each of the eight points without skipping any points, you get an octagon.

12. If you connect each of the eight points by skipping two points, you get a star made out of one continuous line.

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