Tag Archives: patterns

Understanding Patterns

Here is the outline to my ‘Understanding Patterns’ workshop, available as part of my offerings through Charlotte Holloway Ashwanden. Enjoy 🙂

Pattern Understanding is a key part of holistic design. We are constantly nested within patterns, both visible and invisible, throughout our lives. Indeed, we can see patterns as a fundamental pattern of human experience. When we are open to patterns, we can feel how they function; and much of our relationship to patterns is based on intuition, which we cannot necessarily explain. So why is it important to understand patterns?

Bill Mollison and David Holmgren point out in the ‘Permaculture Designer’s Manual’ that patterns are something which we have an intuitive relationship with. But if we are to create effective designs which fit harmoniously within the systems we are part of, it is also important to consciously comprehend and communicate our understanding of patterns. This is where permaculture design is so useful, as it helps us to connect intuition and conscious design.

Here are some common natural patterns and their functions:

Spiral

Conservation of energy

Vortex / Overbeck Jet

Cycling of energy

Wave

Rhythmic movement

Fractal

Spreading over small spaces

Tessellation

Maximum cover with minimum materials used

Dendritic

Carrying energy over a wide area

Symmetry

Fitting together