Total Eclipse

[Total Eclipse]

Total Eclipse is a hollow sphere of 720 interwoven paperclips in the shape of a (snub) soccer ball.

Designed in May, 2012; completed in July, 2012.

[Total Eclipse: closeup of an edge]

Each edge of the soccer ball underlying Total Eclipse's geometry has 8 parallel, same-color paperclips, 6 of which are stacked across the edge. This edge is dominated by 8 yellow paperclips.

Total Eclipse's vast size, rough texture, and ample holes or "craters" contribute to its moon-like presence, partially explaining its name. It is a large, hollow ball made of totally clips and nothing else—720 paperclips, to be precise.

Geometrically, Total Eclipse is built entirely from triangles. A basic triangular unit is a three-clip arrangement reminiscent of the borromean rings found in my Pair o' Boxes sculpture. Two adjacent units are intertwined as shown in the image below, but I don't recommend completing two separate units and then trying to join them; instead, build and attach the second unit clip-by-clip. These triangular units are arranged according to the triangles in a snub truncated icosahedron, a shape also seen in the Soccer Stars sculpture. (However, these two snub truncated icosahedra have opposite chirality: one is the mirror image of the other.) As a result, the holes or "craters" are all 5- or 6-sided and are arranged as the faces of a soccer ball.

[Total Eclipse: triangular units]

The Total Eclipse is built from 240 triangular units. Two such units are shown here—one white, one blue—showing how neighboring triangles link together.

The chosen color pattern has no two touching clips of the same color, which contributes to the noisy and chaotic appearance. Ironically, this is achieved here by a highly structured color scheme. Each edge of the soccer ball is governed by 8 monochromatic, roughly parallel clips, six of which line up directly across the edge, as in this image above. These groups of 8 clips are arranged symmetrically around the soccer ball in the color pattern shown below. In this diagram, notice that every pair of same-colored edges are separated by at least two other edges; this guarantees that the corresponding same-colored groups of clips are well-enough separated around the ball.

[Edge coloring of a soccer ball used in Total Eclipse]

The edges of a soccer ball may be symmetrically colored in 5 colors so that same-colored edges are at least two edges apart. An icosahedron is shown to aid in discerning the coloring's patterns.

Copyright © 2011–2020 by Zachary Abel. All rights reserved. Last updated on 4/7/2020.