Reflecting on the Mirror Pillar

News header mirror pillar

As shoppers browsed and made their way through Ocean Terminal on Friday 24 and Saturday 25 May they were met with an unusual sight. A 2m tall mirrored pillar surrounded by people industriously drawing all in the name of maths. But what have mirrors and drawing got to do with maths? Katie Steckles from ThinkMaths spent three days in Edinburgh and Glasgow helping us find out.

The Mirror Pillar uses our skills of reflection, angles and transformation to create anamorphic artwork. To do this and image was planned out around the base of the pillar and passers by could stop and draw one section of the image. Sounds easy enough. However, the images around the base of the pillar needed to be stretched and drawn 'back to front' so when it is reflected in the pillar it looks correct. This is important due to the angle of reflection on a curved surface such as the Mirror Pillar.

This means for each section drawn left had to be right, right had to be left and your drawing proportions had to stretch to match the piece of paper. Quite a lot to think about!

Using all these skills we created an amazing piece of anamorphic art to be proud of. People also got creative with their own designs at our mini mirror pillar station. You can give your own a go here

On Sunday we headed over to Glasgow Central Station. Under the grand glass ceiling to a background of announcements, everyone from station staff to shoppers to holiday makers got stuck in drawing.


At the end of our creative maths weekend the Mirror Pillar headed back south, where it will have a permanent home with Maths World UK. The will be plenty of opportunities to get creative with maths during Maths Week Scotland 30 September - 6 October 2019. Look out for events appearing online from August.


The MirrorPillar is a project by ThinkMaths and Maths World UK, huge thanks to both for their organisation and assistance in making this happen.

Funding was jointly provided by Maths Week Scotland and University of Edinburgh Mathematics Department. Many thanks to all the volunteers who kindly gave their time to making it happen.

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