2015 Lecture Series: Donna Marie Stepien: Simpli-PHI The Common & the Profound
The Golden Ratio (PHI), frequently diagrammed by the logarithmic spiral and commonly observed in nature, has found itself in the human-designed architecture and art of cultures from pre-written history to the present. Chinese vases from 900 BC, the Parthenon, pre-Columbian textiles from what is now the southwest United States, Japanese shrines from 300 years ago, Gutenberg’s 42-line Bible, and the work of masters such as Debussey, Le Corbusier, and Diebenkorn all share in their work the PHI proportion. This talk explores interdisciplinary connections woven together by PHI. Specifically illustrating PHI relationships between pre-20th century vernacular Vermont architecture and book design, it reveals the enrichment of integrating cross-disciplinary knowledge about PHI into anyone’s work, in any field. Interest in the intersection of formal design and human interaction in natural and built environments led Donna Stepian to commission three homes – and a ring – using the Golden Ratio, to use design to teach standardized mathematics, and to strengthen ESL in an Eastern European UNESCO program. Her recent research connects visual literacy and mindful awareness for those with learning challenges. Donna’s contemplative and liberal philosophy is reflected in her teaching and in her award-winning design projects, artwork, and research funded by colleges and universities, departments of education, and independent grants.