Drought Data Curtain

Ceri Riley and Val Healy

For our data sculpture, we decided to make a beaded curtain to visualize data on percentage of cattle affected by drought in the past year. Our goal was to design a data-centric piece of home decor that will showcase this data, while also acting as an attractive decoration. Our audience is anyone looking to incorporate data-driven design into their home space.

To decrease the number of strands and beads we needed, we first modified the data by averaging the values of the total percentage of cattle affected by drought for each month in the graph. We rounded these values to zero decimal places. These values translate to the percentage of red beads placed on the bottom of the strand, as shown in the table below. One flawed outcome of this method is that the first and final strands represent less than a full month’s worth of data, as we made the curtain in the middle of this month, and our data set only includes data from the past year.

To design the curtain itself, we researched typical dimensions of pony beads and settled on using 300 beads per strand; thus, three beads would represent one percent, and we would need 3900 beads in total. The number of each type of bead on each strand is listed in the table below.

Lastly, we decided to use red beads to represent the drought data due to the color’s association with danger, fire, and generally bad things. We chose to use blue beads to represent the percentage of cattle not affected by drought due to the color’s association with water and generally good things.


(picture coming soon)


Date Percentage red beads blue beads
April 2014 44.3333333333 133 167
May 2014 45.75 137 163
June 2014 39.75 119 181
July 2014 35.8 107 193
August 2014 34.75 104 196
September 2014 30.4 91 209
October 2014 28.25 85 215
November 2014 27.75 83 217
December 2014 28.6 86 214
January 2015 25.75 77 223
February 2015 27 81 219
March 2015 30.2 91 209
April 2015 36 108 192
1303 2597
drought beads “empty” beads

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *