Category Archives: Abstract

Continuous Line Artist view of Haken’s Gordian Knot in “Unknot Hall of Fame”.

Peter Prevos, has included me in his “Unknot Hall of Fame”, within an article on his website about “The Art and Magic of the Trivial Knot”, which also explains many technical aspects of the trivial knot and how magicians have incorporated those ideas. There are designs, in the Hall of Fame, by Goeritz, Thistlewaite, Ochiai and Haken as well as art by Vanuatu and myself and reference to James Sienna. Have a look on – https://horizonofreason.com/science/unknot-gallery/

I had already done my painting when I saw a post on Mathoverflow website “Are there any very hard unknots?” by mathematician Timothy Gowers – https://mathoverflow.net/questions/53471/are-there-any=very-hard-unknots

I responded with posts on my website on in June 2015 and a later update in May 2018.

Noboru Ito, mathematician now at the of University of Tokyo, contacted me in February 2016 about his near completed book “Knot Projections” and my article is referenced in the Preface. “It was very helpful”.

Tomasz Mrowka, mathematician at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, asked in November 2017 for a copy of my painting, as “it’s really quite striking and would love to hang it in my office”.

David Eppstein, computer scientist and mathematician at university of California, Irvine, featured my painting on his website in November 2018 “Mick Burton, an artist known for drawings that use a single continuous line to create the impression of complex and naturalistic shapes, looks at knot theory, self-overlapping curves, and the visualization of Seifert surfaces.” I had to look in Noboru Ito’s book to check out Seifert surfaces !

In essence my painting of Haken’s Gordian Knot is another example of me finding a well known structure which I can apply my continuous line knowledge and experience to. The way that nature can work in these structures often surprises me.

This is separate to my ongoing art work of producing single continuous lines and colouring based upon interesting subjects – which can be animals, landscapes, portraits, still life and abstracts.

Other examples of looking at structures have been –

Four colour theory maps, where my overdraw method could divide a map up into two streams of alternate colours, hence the four colours. I corresponded with mathematicians Robin Wilson and Fred Holroyd in the mid 1970’s. See my post in August 2015 on Skydiver patterns and my Four Colour Theory.

The artist Escher’s favourite tile at the Alhambra in Spain, which I realised had two continuous lines running through it. I saw that the artist could have made in into a single line with two small alterations. See my posts of April 2015.

Knights moves on a chess board starting and finishing at the same square and landing once on all the other squares. See my 1974 picture in the Gallery 1965-1974.

I am always on the look out for new structures which are suitable.

Red Alert, Continuous Line Detected on Train Tracks Puzzle.

I started doing Train Tracks puzzles in the Daily Mail a few months ago and then moved onto Medium puzzles (dimensions up to 10 x10) on puzzlemadness.co.uk and a month ago tried Large difficulty (dimensions up to 12 x 12).

You start off with a grid which states the number of cells which occur vertically or horizontally and they give you some bits of track initially, including start and end track at the edge.

Train tracks from puzzlemadness.co.uk Large difficulty 12.12.2020. Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

There are many attractive elements to this sort of puzzle, including the possibility of solving them totally without trial and error.  The first thing to do is to add initial offshoots for all these start tracks.  Next look for any rows which already meet the number of cells containing track, such as the right hand vertical which has the required two including the offshoot.  This allows you to allocate spaces to the remaining 10 cells. 

Being an artist, I know the value of space in a picture and it is particularly important here.  Then you have to consider the various types of track and on you go.  Constantly checking and rechecking is the key as you add pieces.  Bear in mind that the aim is to end up with one route from start to finish, avoiding dead ends, and use that to your advantage.  Finding dead ends is also useful as you can allocate spaces.

It is best to start off with smaller easier Train Tracks puzzles to get used to the process.

I attempt my puzzles on paper where I draw the grid and enter the numbers and given track pieces.  My fingers are too wide and clumsy to do much prodding on my mobile phone and if I complete the puzzle I then tap in the answer.  Here is my initial drawing of the above puzzle.

Initial attempt at the rail track puzzle (large difficulty) of 12.12.2020. Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

When I loaded this on my phone, I expected that as I tapped in the last piece the completed puzzle would disappear to be replaced by congratulations across the screen, for completing a route from start to finish.  Instead I saw the Red Alert.  It is not normally an offence to produce a continuous line in this blog.

I am good at mending this sort of thing of course and here is the final result – there is a X (space indicator) so that you see the complete shape before the last piece goes in causing the whole thing to disappear.

Correct completion of Train Tracks puzzle, with just the last bit to go in. Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

I am interested in various stand alone structures which have an environmental feel to them, where all the different elements can produce a surprising result.  

As it has been Lockdown etc,  I have completed 94 in about 10 weeks scoring 17,925 points, which put me at position 272 out of 863 listed.  Top is Stirlingkincaid with 2,766,965 !

On the monthly list I am 91st with 7,650 points.  Stirlingkincaid has 228,640 – does this person ever sleep?

Personally, I will probably move on now, looking for more structures which I can unlock with my continuous line knowledge.  Also, I need to finish my current work about Drawing Prime Numbers.

Tawny Owl window impression in Gledhow Valley.

Window impression of Tawny Owl.  Front garden in Gledhow Valley.  Mick Burton, Leeds continuous line artist.

Yesterday morning Joan said that there was a mucky mark on the lounge window and that the Window Cleaner had only just been the other day for the first time since the start of Lockdown.  Maybe a bird had done it. 

The impression was pretty detailed and we thought about pigeon size. We looked outside, as a blackbird had smashed into the window a few years ago and did not survive.  No sign this time so we hope that this bird is ok.

Here is a closer version of the impression, which I have darkened a bit so the grey impression, lit by the sun, shows up more against our evergreen hedge.

Full window impression of Tawny Owl, with good body, head and wing detail.  Mick Burton, Leeds continuous line artist.

I know that we have Tawny Owls in Gledhow Valley, Leeds, but I have only seen one sitting in a tree at dusk and of course heard them.  I looked up Tawny Owl in our RSPB Handbook of British Birds, by Peter Holden and Tim Cleeves.  “37-39cm.  As large as a Woodpigeon.  Has a tubby body, large round head and rounded wings.  Its face is surrounded by a ring of dark feathers….”  I took a closer photo of the body shape to look at this sort of detail.

Close up of the body of the Tawny Owl window impression, showing feathers around the head, beak and tubby body.  Mick Burton, Leeds continuous line artist.

You can see the faint ring of feathers around the head and where the beak has hit the window.  Also the tubby body and chest.  I suppose the impression is made by grease and dust off the feathers.

The impression of the body did not seem to be full size, so this may have been a youngster which first flew at the end of April.

I had been sorting out some of my framed paintings and had left one out on the guest room bed.  It was my single continuous line Barn Owl, which has a virtually identical composition to the window impression, with the sun shining through its wings.  See also my Post of November 2015 about this owl.

Continuous line drawing of Barn Owl onto Wet on Wet watercolour, 2015. Mick Burton.

Tour of Britain, Continuous Line, new version by Mick Burton. Inspired by Tour de Yorkshire 2019.

Tour of Britain, new continuous line drawing by Mick Burton. Inspired by Tour de Yorkshire 2019.

The Tour de Yorkshire annual cycle race has become a fixture in the Yorkshire calendar, but can be disruptive to other events or day trips we may plan.

Harrogate and Nidderdale Art Club’s exhibition, intended to take place on Early May Bank holiday, was moved this year to Spring Bank Holiday weekend 25-27 May 2019 due to the Tour de Yorkshire coming through Ripley, where we hold the exhibition, on Friday 3 May.

Harrogate and Nidderdale Art Club Spring Art Show and Sale of Work, Ripley Town Hall, 25-27 May 2019.

My Tour of Britain drawing has a continuous line starting and ending in Yorkshire as well, but would take slightly longer than the 4 days of the Tour de Yorkshire and require some trips over water.

The Tour de Yorkshire passed Ripley Town Hall, where the Exhibition will be held this weekend, and the Television coverage did a feature on Ripley including aerial views of Ripley Castle and the family of Sir Thomas Ingilby our art club’s patron.

Ripley Town Hall.   Photo from Harrogate and Nidderdale Art Club website   www.handnart.co.uk

That day’s stage, from Doncaster to Bedale, passed some other places which have a close connection to myself.  As well as passing Scholes Village Hall, near Leeds (where Joan and myself play table tennis on a Sunday morning), Harrogate (where I went to school and served as a Police Cadet) and Ripley (as above), into Ripon passing two road ends where I grew up in the 1950’s and it ended in Bedale where my mother’s family (Mace) were based from the early 1800’s.

Last year’s Tour de Yorkshire went through Bedale and the reception was so impressive that the organisers decided to finish a stage in the town this year.  Here is a photo from the 2018 race where the riders went over the railway level crossing from Bedale into Aiskew and on the left is Park House, the Mace family house from the 1920’s.

Tour de Yorkshire 2018 at level crossing from Bedale into Aiskew passing the Mace family Park House on the left.  Photo Northern Echo 2018.

Joan and myself had intended to visit my Aunty Vi Doyle, 98 years old and who’s first husband was my mother Brenda’s youngest brother Harry Mace, on Friday 3 May.  When I realised that the Tour was finishing in Bedale that day I knew that we would not be able to get any where near her house and so we went a few days earlier.  Vi’s health had been deteriorating for some months and she was distinctly weaker this time and did not eat much of her fish from Fishy Hall’s for the first time ever.

We found out about the exact route of the race which included going past Vi’s bungalow in South End at the start of the finishing straight and we told her she would hear the cheering.

Joan and myself watched the end of that stage on the television and after passing Vi’s the riders went up the main street passing the top of Emgate, in sight of the Oddfellows Arms (now The Three Coopers) where my mother was born, and finished next to the house in North End where my parents had their first home.

The cheers of the crowd would be one of the last memories of Aunty Vi who sadly died peacefully this morning in her own home.

 

Christmas Tree Frost Image on Car Roof

IMG_5104 - Copy LEAD PICTURE SHOWING BIT OF CAR

Christmas Tree frost image on car roof, with photograph darkened.   Mick Burton, continuous line artist, 24 December 2018.

I have noticed hard frost images before on our car parked overnight in the drive. The car is on a slope facing upwards towards the south and the frost pattern seems to emanate from the high point of the roof, which is towards the higher front end.

IMG_5081 - Copy Frosted car original

Car with frost image on roof, parked facing south up hill, showing the centre of the pattern at the high point of the roof.   Mick Burton, continuous line artist, photo taken 24 December 2018.

Here is a closer view of the roof.

IMG_5067

View of the frosted over roof of the car, 24 December 2018.   Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

The pattern on the roof of the car reminds me of the view from a plane when flying over the Alps.

IMG_5068

A closer view can be likened to the view when flying over the Alps.   Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

A very close view shows the granules of frost making up the effect.  This is the apex of the car roof and I presume that periodic melting had occurred followed by new freezing.

IMG_5075

Granules of frost making up the image on the car roof.   Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

As the sun hits the roof it highlights the pattern and eventually starts to melt the frost around its edges.   A pattern similar to a fir tree starts to emerge.   The melting starts from the high end establishing the bottom of the trunk of the tree and begins to form the outline of  the rest of the tree.

IMG_5104 Original

As the sun increasingly hits the car roof it highlights the effect and also begins to melt around the edges.  Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.  

Making the photograph darker produces the effect shown at the top of this post.

I prefer to leave a bit of the car in the photo myself, but here is a view without the top of the car windows.

IMG_5104 - Copy - Copy NEXT TO DARKEST

Tree effect without showing any obvious part of the car.   Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

 

I am fascinated by intricate decorative patterns appearing in nature.   Sometimes my Single Continuous Lines include a hint of this naturalness.

Continuous Line Artist view of Haken’s Gordian Knot.

Depth of lines in black and white on Haken Gordian   Knot.  Mick Burton, continuous line.

Depth of lines in black and white, in Haken’s Gordian Knot. Mick Burton, single continuous line drawing 2015.

Here is an update on posts which I did in May and June 2015 regarding the above Knot and the interest these posts have since generated.

As a Continuous Line Artist I have looked at many angles of what my lines may mean and what they can do.  

One such examination was triggered by Haken’s Gordian Knot, a complicated looking knot which is really an unknot in disguise – a simple circle of string (ends glued together) making a closed line, which I saw in a book called “Professor Stewart’s Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities”.   The drawing above is my version of Ian Agol’s illustration of the Haken Knot (see it in my post of 31 May 2015).  I used dark and light shades to emphasize the Overs and Unders shown for the line. 

The reason that I was so interested was that it reminded me of my “Twisting, Overlapping, Envelope Elephant” (see below).

Twisting, overlapping, envelope elephant. Continuous line.

This single continuous line drawing is coloured to represent a “Twisting, Overlapping, Envelope Elephant”, which is Blue on one side and Red on the other. Mick Burton, 2013.

How this elephant line works is explained in my post of 31 May 2015.  In essence, you need to imagine that the composition is made up of a flexible plastic sheet which is Blue on the front and Red on the back.  Each time there is a twist, on an outer edge in the drawing, you see the other colour.

In the Gordian Knot, I spotted that there is a narrow loop starting on the outside (lower left on first illustration above)  which seemed to lead into the structure, with its two strands twisting as it went, each time in a clockwise direction.  I followed the two twisting lines throughout the drawing until they ended in a final loop on the outside (left higher).  I counted 36 clockwise twists and one anticlockwise.  My thoughts are explained in full in my post of 2 June 2015.

To aid the explanation I completed a painted version, where I used the same Blue and Red colours, as for the above elephant, to emphasize the twists.

Twisting, overlapping colouring of Haken Gordian Knot.  Mick Burton, continuous line.

Twisting, overlapping colouring of Haken’s Gordian Knot. Mick Burton, single continuous line drawing painting 2015.

Note that the colours in the Elephant define two sides of a surface, but in the Unknot the colours are illustrating the twist of two lines travelling together.  The twin lines go through other loops continually so there are no real surfaces.

After completing the above two posts, I decided that I would try and find out more about the Knot and came across a question posed by mathematician Timothy Gowers, in January 2011, on the MathOverflow website.  He had asked for examples of very hard unknots and after many answers he had arrived at Haken’s “Gordian Knot”.  He described the difficulties he was having.  Timothy said that he would love to put a picture of the process on the website and asked for suggestions.

As I had already done two pictures before I read his post I decided to respond.  The work that I did on this is detailed in my post of 5 June 2015 entitled “How do you construct Haken’s Gordian Knot?”.

My response duly appeared on the MathOverflow website in early 2015, but within a day or two it had been taken down and a notice appeared stating that only mathematicians of a certain status should post on the site.

That’s fine as my only maths qualification is General Certificate of Education at school.  At Harrogate Technical College I was thrown out of Shorthand and, with only three months to go to GCE exams they put me in for Maths and Art.  I owe many thanks to the Shorthand teacher, who thought my only skill was picking locks when someone forgot their locker key.  Also I have never had any discussion face to face with a mathematician about my art or my maths.

Following this setback I decided to set it all down in my Blog, in the three posts up to 5 June 2015.

Although I have not actually talked directly to a mathematician, I did correspond with Robin Wilson and Fred Holroyd at the Open University in the mid 1970’s about my ideas on the Four Colour Map Theorem.  I set out my ideas briefly in my post of 18 August 2015 “Four Colour Theorem continuous line overdraw”.

When Fred Holroyd responded to my write up, he used my own expressions and definitions which was very impressive.  He said that I had proved a connected problem, only proved in the world as recently as 16 years previously.   When I asked Robin Wilson about the announcement from a mathematician who said that he had proved the Four Colour Theorem, Robin said not to worry as he thought that this one was unlikely to be validated.  He said that he would prefer that my theory could be proved as it was elegant and also that they could use it.

The theorem was proven in 1976 by Kenneth Appel and Wolfgang Haken, involving running one of the biggest computers for over 1000 hours.  After this I decided to go onto other things, leaving my art and maths behind for almost 40 years.

Yes, its the very same Wolfgang Haken, who devised the Gordian Knot!

Ok, lets move on.  In February 2016 I received an e-mail from Noboru Ito, a mathematician in Japan, saying that he had read my article of 5 June 2015 “How do you construct Haken’s Gordian Knot?” and it was very helpful.  He would like to add it to the reference of his new book “Knot Projections”.

Of course I agreed and he later confirmed that he had referenced my work to the preface of his book.

Here is a picture of my copy of his book which was published in December 2016.

Knot Projections

“Knot Projections” by Noboru Ito, published December 2016 by CRC Press, a Chapman & Hall Book.

 

Additionally, in November 2017 I received an e-mail from Tomasz Mrowka, a mathematician at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He said that he was interested in acquiring a copy of my Twisting, Overlapping colouring of Haken’s unknot.  “It’s really quite striking and I would love to hang it in my office”.

I was delighted to send him a photo which he could enlarge and frame.

 

Kaleidoscopic Wild Horses, continuous line drawing with colour sequence.

Wild Horses, June 2017

Kaleidoscopic Wild Horses. Single Continuous Line Drawing with colour sequence in acrylic on canvas.  I happened to have a canvas 36″ x 10″ previously intended for an upright picture idea.  Mick Burton continuous line artist 2017.

This painting originated from a continuous line drawing which I produced for a demonstration at Stainbeck Arts Club, Chapel Allerton in Leeds in May 2017.  

IMG_0883 -Horses line.

Wild Horses,  single continuous line drawing. Demonstration at Stainbeck Arts Club. Mick Burton, continuous line artist 2017.

When I was thinking about a subject for the demonstration I saw an advert on the TV for the Cheltenham Festival which just showed loads of horses running – why there were no riders or jumps I do not know.  This also reminded me of one of my favourite paintings – “Scotland Forever” by Lady Butler in Leeds Art Gallery, painted in 1881.  A bit like “Charge of the Light Brigade” but straight at you, with the horses wild eyed and seeming to leap out of the painting.

See it at   http://www.leedsartgallery.co.uk/gallery/listings/l0081.php

Lady Butler painted a lot of war scenes and of course she had no military experience.  She was, however, married to a General and she persuaded him to let her watch manoeuvres.  In preparation for this picture she asked that the cavalry ride straight towards her so that she could get the feel for facing a charge.

When I had finished the demonstration, which was a result considerably rougher than the above, the members asked about colours.  I had not intended to talk much about colours, as I thought that my approach to drawing the lines would be enough at this session, but we had a solid half hour talking about my method and ideas about colour.  They said that they looked forward to seeing the image in full colour, so here it is.

My original intention was to do a black and white alternate shading version only, and this is shown below.  The tweaking which I did on the horses heads to achieve a better result in black and white was essential both to improve the continuous line and later to enhance the colouring.

IMG_0888 - Horses black & white

Wild Horses, single continuous line drawing with black and white alternate shading.  Mick Burton, continuous line artist 2017

Initially I did my normal approach to colour sequence, where I devised a 6 colour range (white, lemon, golden yellow, orange, vermilion red and crimson alizarin) to fit my alternate overdraw template for this image.  

This resulted in gold and vermilion appearing on all outer areas and I thought that I needed a darker effect in the lower half of the image.  So I substituted cobalt blue for gold along the bottom legs of the horses and finished up also substituting, on an ad hoc basis, some dark blue, violet and green to try and naturally leach colour balance upwards to meet existing vermilion and gold.

A fellow artist who likes my alternate overdraw and colour sequence method has told me that I should always apply it fully to get the natural result.  Generally I would agree, but thought that I needed to break some rules on this occasion.  I try and mirror nature in my art and of course nature evolves by breaking a few rules. 

Joan and I visited my Aunty Ann a couple of weeks ago.  She is 99 years old and still as bright as a bobbin.  She is a good artist and only gave up painting relatively recently, and always wants to see my latest stuff.  i took the Wild Horses along.  It took up the length of the settee and she was delighted with the colours.  I then realised that the painting’s reflection in the shiny metal fire surround made the composition even more abstract.

Aunty Ann’s shiny metal fire surround reflecting Wild Horses. Mick Burton, continuous line artist, 2017.

Two different Reflections of Wild Horses on metal fireplace surround, detail strips. Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Symmetry of Broken Plastic Table Tennis Balls – in Structure, Time and Space.

First broken Plastic table tennis ball.

First of two plastic table tennis balls broken during a match on 25 July 2017.  Manufactured by XuShaofa Sports in China, whose badge is fully shown on the separate piece .  Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

This match ball is made of plastic and my table tennis club in Leeds has used the XuShaofa ball for over two years since plastic balls were introduced internationally in place of the celluloid ball. This is my favourite type of new ball to play with and they are long lasting and I have rarely seen one break.

Last night I played a Leeds Summer League match at Moor Allerton Sports and Social Centre and the above ball was broken during a game between Kiran Babra of Leeds YMCA A and Liang Wong of Leeds Judean C team.  Kiran has an outstanding vicious forehand topspin stroke which he can play from anywhere, often from wide on his backhand side of the table.

In one point he hit the ball with the top edge of his bat and it flew up and hit the corner of the lighting casing on the ceiling.  When Liang picked up the ball from the floor it was in two pieces, as shown in the photo above.   Unlike the old celluloid balls, which had a seam around the ball, this plastic ball is seamless and so when it breaks a piece usually separates.

I noticed that the piece which came off nicely encompassed the maker’s badge, along with a dent from impact, and so I pocketed it as a natural artistic object for my collection and then produced my last new ball to continue the match.

Two points after the above incident, Kiran again went for his topspin and mishit the ball in exactly the same way and it flew up and hit the corner of the lighting casing again.  This time the ball was picked up and they played another point.  (see later note at end of this post).

Things did not seem to be quite right in this point and Michael Chang said “Can’t you see that the ball is dead”.  We looked at the ball and there was a big hole in it and a loose piece inside.  I announced that this time you could look through the hole and see the reverse of the XuShaofa badge at the opposite side.

Second broken plastic table tennis ball.

Second of two plastic table tennis balls broken during a match on 25 July 2017.   Manufactured by XuShaofa Sports in China, whose badge in reverse can be seen through the hole.  Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Another specimen for my collection.   In fact in over two years I have only seen 2 or 3 balls XuShaofa balls break and each time commented that the broken ball was “A collector’s item”.  But these two balls are something else!  Think about the probabilities of the same mishit, followed by the same trajectory and point of impact and with the speed and distance involved resulting in the same type of break.  Think about the spin, all those revolutions per second, and the first point of impact being directly on the badge and then the impact on the second ball directly opposite that of the first.

I love symmetries, but have difficulty in working out what this is.  A piece of ball with the full badge on it and a similar hole in the other ball where you can look through and see the reverse of the badge on the other side.  Is that a reflection, a transformation, anti-symmetrical, or what?

Regarding probabilities, there is probably more chance that I will post pictures of symmetrical and anti-symmetrical prime numbers on this web site than the above happening again.

Just to put the old celluloid balls to bed, XuShaofa themselves welcomed the decision to ban them saying that “celluloid is flammable and has killed countless factory workers in China from fast-spreading fires”.  I have long known of this flammable nature and have often used broken celluloid balls as fire lighters at home.

If you would like to know what was in use before celluloid balls were introduced in 1901, one original choice was the ball shape cut from champagne corks which were hit around on dining tables with cigar box lids.   No surprise that Boris Johnson could refer to “Whiff  Whaff” when welcoming the 2012 Olympics to London.

Subsequently, Battledore bats were manufactured from around 1890.  These had parchment paper stretched around a frame and I am lucky to have one circa 1903, see below.  It has “PING PONG” stamped on it, which was in general use before  J. Jaques & Sons Ltd registered the name as a copyright in 1901.  

IMG_1905 - Battledore circa 1903

Table Tennis battledore, parchment paper stretched around a frame, stamped “PING PONG” circa 1903.  Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

IMG_1905 - Ping Pong

“PING PONG” stamped on Table Tennis battledore, circa 1903.   Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Pimpled rubber was first used on bats in 1903.  Mr E. C. Goode from London was in his local chemist’s when he saw a pimpled rubber mat on the counter.  He purchased it and stuck it to his plain wood table tennis bat and found it produced fast spin on the ball.  He became Champion of England and others copied his idea.

I have never used my battledore for fear that a modern ball, such as XuShaofa, might burst through the parchment.   I don’t want a ball shaped hole in that !

NOTE ADDED on 15.6.2018.  A couple of days ago I bumped into Kiran, who had broken these two balls, and he had heard that he was on my website and I told him where to find the post.  I re-read it myself and realised that things had moved on since I wrote the post.

Kiran became well known after that for breaking balls in most matches that he played in. His topspin action is extreme in that the bat travels very fast past the ball, hardly touching it, and a slight error can mean the ball hits the top of the bat and smashes.  My original assumption that the ball hitting the light casing after Kiran hit the ball was incorrect.

Other players are also finding this happens to them.  In fact a player did it twice in a match I played in this week, and Kiran said that he had done it five times in practice the night before I spoke to him.  I would rather not say how much a ball costs!