Crafts and the origins of geometry

Ricardo Nemirovsky, Stephanie J. Bunn, Francesca Silverton

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In this paper, we explore the possible roles of craftwork at the origins of geometry. Since shapes are the characters of geometry, our focus is on crafting shapes. We review two approaches to the nature of making: hylomorphism and hylonoesis. Related to these, we distinguish between ‘shape’ and ‘shaping’. From studies on prehistoric pottery, we explore a conception of ‘shaping’ as thoroughly implicated by the manifold social, biological, and material life of a community. Then we explore the significance of ’shaping’, which animate shapes, immerse them in the vagaries of materiality, and fill them with secrets longing for their open realization; a realization that is at once — inseparably — material and imaginary. We make shapes as they shape our bodies, and then we become capable of imagining and gesturing them.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2023


  • Time space
  • Reconstruction
  • Material culture
  • Craft impact
  • Societal strategies


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