Artistry of Dominoes


A small rectangular block of wood or plastic, each face patterned with an arrangement of dots resembling those on dice. The identity-bearing face is separated visually into two squares, called ends, by a line or ridge; each end is marked with an arrangement of spots, or pips, ranging in value from six (the most valuable) to none (the least). A domino is normally twice as long as it is wide. It may be constructed in a variety of shapes and materials, including bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother-of-pearl), ivory, and ebony blacks; the pips are usually inlaid or painted. A set of dominoes consists of 28 tiles in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Domino (plural: dominoes) are used to play games, most of which involve matching tiles in a row or pattern, and scoring points by placing or “knocking” over them. Most of these games are played by two or more players, and the winning player is the one who accumulates the most points in a given number of rounds. The rules of a game are established by the participants, and can differ widely among games, even within the same family of games.

Lily Hevesh grew up playing dominoes with her grandparents, and she started making videos of her own domino art on YouTube at age 10. Her work has since grown much more elaborate – she now creates domino setups for movies, TV shows, and events, as well as 3D structures like towers and pyramids. She starts by testing out each part of her installations with a small model, and then moves on to larger arrangements. Hevesh also films each test in slow motion, so she can make precise corrections.

She uses different types of tools for each part of her sets, including a drill press, radial arm saw, scroll saw, belt sander, and welder. But her favorite tool is a table saw, which she uses to create the curved parts of her dominoes. After constructing the pieces, she spray paints them with a color that matches the theme of the installation she is working on.

While the majority of dominoes are made of polymer, some sets are made from other natural materials such as marble, granite, or soapstone; stone, agate, or other woods; metals like brass or pewter; ceramic clay; and glass or crystal. These natural sets tend to be more expensive, but their weight and feel lend them an elegance that many find pleasing.

When the CEO of Domino’s stepped down in 2004, the company was nearly $943 million in debt. The new CEO, Steve Doyle, realized that if Domino’s wanted to survive, something had to change – and fast. That something was a shift in culture, and it had to start at the top. To show his commitment to this effort, Doyle personally took a few weeks off from his job and traveled around the country speaking to Domino’s workers. He asked them what they wanted, and what they were struggling with.