Tessellations are designs which fill a space, without over-lapping, to form a pattern. They are the simplest kind of jigsaw puzzle in that all the pieces look alike. The shapes in a tessellation can be geometric like squares and triangles, or shaped like animals and people.
QUILTS and TESSELLATIONS
Many quilts are tessellations. I think a lot of quilters are drawn to tessellations. In fact Jenny Beyer wrote a book I would like to get my hands on called, "Designing Tessellations." Perhaps some of you have read it.
There are only 3 regular geometric shapes that will tessellate. 'Regular', meaning that all sides and internal angles are equal. These are the equilateral triangle, square and hexagon. Of course these are very common shapes used in quilts.
A simple square tessellation quilt I made as a custom order
I have gathered most of this information from a wonderful site devoted to tessellation called Tessellations.org. You could spend a lot of time on their site reading about the history of tessellation, browsing through their galleries, and even designing a tessellation of your own through their simple tutorials. There is also software available that will help in your design.
Thanks to the featured Etsy shops for their wonderful examples of this fascinating artform.
Of course, not all tessellations are quilts. Here are a few examples of this design form in other media.
Cubic tessellation embroidery by themooncraft
Birds of a Feather Tessellation Necklace by theMIX
Tessellated Yunomi by clayoh