Architectural Ornament – The Spiral Scroll

Architectural ornament. Pittsburgh Hand-Carved Frieze - maple wood

One of the most naturally interesting and dynamic shapes is the spiral. It has been studied in many ways for a long time. It is more than just a quintessential design form and an important symbol, it is also a keystone shape in the sciences and the world of mathematics. Many formulas came out from the existence of the spiral and eventually lead to the understanding and discovery of the double helix in the DNA. Where did this fantastic spiral phenomenon originate from?– Nature, of course!

The spiral has been captured in many places in nature but the number one and most common place to spot it is in shells. They occur in shells due to the growth pattern. The shell also represents how almost anything in nature grows– even us. The way our skin replicates and our bones grow and strengthen themselves are in a spiral. That very fact makes the spiraling effect is engraved into our DNA and into our bodies.

It is no wonder that spiral was used in the adorning of the Ancient Greek megaliths, which were the large stones that were used in the construction of architectural creations such as monuments. The spiral is a representation of anything from holistic growth to surrender and release. The spiral, though, did not necessarily start in a specific region which makes the symbol universal. The Egyptians and the Indians used it in their architectural constructions and their art as well.

The spirals started to be created with acanthus leaves, oak leaves, and floral patterns. Those, again bring the overall focus to nature. Acanthus leaves represent immortality in Mediterranean countries. The tree leaves also contribute an overall air of power and honoring of home and yourself. The oak, especially, is a powerful life-affirming symbol as well as having been used to represent love and respect for gods that the different high power officials represent. The oak is also something that was used to predict rainy seasons in Irish tradition. Having the leaves in the spiral shapes makes the statement of great importance.

Within all of our Molding and Wood Carvings collections. Many of the moldings in multiple molding collections have the spiral motif in the designs. In some of the designs, the spirals are more subtle, and in others, it is more subtle. From Le Fleur to Savannah, you can bring out the scrolls or have them be more of a textural experience. More luscious and pronounced moldings include the Aberdeen which really embraces the swirls and spirals. Aside from having a lot of meaning behind the spiral, there is also quite a bit of movement that is caused by the back to back spiraling shape.

Having essential shape repeated throughout our designs, we make it easy for you to mix and match anything from appliques to moldings and from acanthus spirals to shells.

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