Tom Lawton
5 min readFeb 13, 2020


I will be as clear and concise as possible in my explanation of the piece I am calling Wei-Wu (now Wonder).

I’ve not described it to anyone in written form so please bear with me, like any visual piece it’s best seen — I have been intentionally imagining the form over the past year and have realised it properly in the past six months. Unknowingly at the time, going on retreat with my friend and Taoist master Stephen Russell in September 2019 played a critical part in allowing me to visualise my intentions clearly and I thank him for many things but one of those is demonstrating Qigong, which appeared to me as a fragmented dance acting out the component parts that make this piece a whole, this makes Wei-Wu resonate with me even more and has heightened my awareness of it in other life /energy systems as well as in my own being, the dynamic is always present and the following images and words provide an introduction to the shape and give a mood board to share my inspirations.

This is what I think Stephen wanted me to share with you as I had shown it to him in private and while in development, to his astonishment, that I had seen this in his teachings — of course, it was always there. He passed away suddenly in January 2020 and so he hadn’t seen the shape so refined. It’s in his honour that I am bringing this piece to life for I have never met someone who, having devoted his life to the teaching of, had such divine understanding of Tao.

Me and Stephen Russell aka The Barefoot Doctor in September 2019

I have some 3D printed physical forms but have rendered a short animation for you as it is a kinetic piece that would work best gently revolving and mysteriously, with no obvious sign how.

“It’s amazing! I love it!

The creative force is strong in YOU.” — Gordana Biernat

You can view a fuller animation below where the shape is visualised in a variety of ways.

Password: weiwu

The shape is my expression of Tao. You no doubt know more about that than I, as I am only a comic book scholar, in so much as I am drawn more to the visual symbolism of Taoism than the philosophy and teachings but then they are so divinely intertwined and that is what I hope to do with this piece. To represent that dynamic. Plato said, geometry will inspire the soul toward truth and create the spirit of philosophy — well this piece is the answer to my philosophical meanderings thus far.

“It’s a brilliant master piece you have created. I have no other word.

Beyond its aesthetic and physical constituents it embodies so many things. You have reached some Truth in this form. I am sure you understand what I mean.” — Daniel Kapelian, OMA Space, Seoul

Wei-wu visualises the force, a universal energy pathway in the shape of a toroidal looped double spiral — that both spirals forwards and back, appearing to turn in both directions, inwards and out at the same time — a constant dynamic of flow and the essence of the self regulating energy dynamic at the centre of all living things. When energy flows through these pathways chi is created. So it visualises that shape as best as I can imagine. With such a simple outline, each perspective and projection of it could be the hand drawn line from Picasso’s sketch book.

It’s far more playful to observe a physical model — but I know you have the vision to be able to see it off the screen.

I designed it precisely with my engineer with a very specific intention I call the golden ball. I imagined the Wei-wu form rotating in zero gravity and a golden ball on the top surface of the outer spiral, rising slowly upwards. Then upon reaching the top the ball is drawn inwards and then down into the inner spiral where it glides down on the lower surface before it reaches the bottom, rolling outwards toward the outer spiral again. The ball is never dropped and so it is caressed by the form and protected from the outside. This is how the flow if the shape was derived and it clearly resembles the flowing shape of a Chinese Ribbon Dancer. All these things are connected — what I have done is optimise that form geometrically and the form is, I think, quite beautiful.

I’ve not yet put a great deal of time into the realism of this but the form is well represented and is parametrically modelled so I can control the precise geometry and there is a very true reason why it is as it is. I can make them at any scale as the video alludes. I am imaging a desktop version as a home meditation aid, akin to my existing solar sculptures www.beuplifted.co.uk, and something of much grander scale which I would love to talk to you about — in a open space where it can evoke mystery, meditation and maybe even magic.

I’d love to know what you think? To me, it would be complemented best by being surrounded by stillness and space, soothing sound and serenity — I could see a public meditation space where some folk were up close, mesmerised, taking pictures, others sat aside, breathing in synchronicity with the flowing shape.

“This is the big one for you!” — Stephen Russell

I have designed a means of making it revolve mysteriously, which would need careful experimentation


The lyrics to The Windmills of Your Mind, MC Escher painting in his studio, Stephen Hawking’s drawing of a black hole and a highly accomplished Chinese Ribbon Dancer expressing Tao — the dance of life
Dr Doolittle and his friend the Push-Me-Pull-You. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction
What was at the end of the yellow brick road? A spiral going back the other way of course
Tao in your tea. You don’t even have to stir it — unless you want to speed it up
So many early doodles