The earth is rude, silent, incomprehensible at first; Be not discouraged - keep on - there are divine things, well envelop'd; I swear to you there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell.
- Walt Whitman
Texture has to do with the way things look and feel. Texture may be the easiest element to wrap one’s mind around when we observe nature - we are familiar with the velvety touch of a flower petal, the smoothness of a stone, or the rough and scaly feel of tree bark. Like the other elements, texture can evoke emotion. We feel different emotions when we see calm, serene waters as opposed to the violent swells of ocean waves during a storm. And like the other design elements, texture provides functionality for a plant or animal’s survival. For instance, birds have varying forms of feathers that help them fly, stay insulated, and either blend in or show off for mating. Certain carnivorous plants like butterworts are covered in a sticky resin that traps insects for nutrients, and the scaly texture of a crocodile’s skin (or scutes) protects them against water loss.
Pattern is a visual element that repeats. Like texture, pattern is an element that helps us describe what we see, and depending on its rhythm, can help create harmony or a sense of movement. We see patterns in nature everywhere from the network of veins on leaves to the beautiful geometry of a bee’s honeycomb, but also in seasonal patterns such as when the leaves fall from trees in the fall only to bloom again in the spring. Recognition of these patterns helps us organize and classify similar looking properties into groups, like the classification system, in order to understand the relationships among ourselves and living things. Our understanding of these patterns lead us to discover many fascinating things like that the patterns on certain seashells may not be random, but actually may help mollusks discern how to continue their shell making.
What textures or patterns do you see when in nature?