The Domino Effect: Lily Hevesh

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Lily Hevesh is regarded as the #1 domino artist in the world.

With engineering principles playing a considerable role in her 3D masterpieces, she now uses her online platform of nearly 4 million YouTube subscribers to raise the profile of science, technology, engineering, art, and maths (STEAM).

In this episode of the Create the Future podcast, we speak to Lily about her domino art journey; from posting her first video at just nine years old to now sharing her passion with the next generation. We hear what it was like to be filmed for three years for the 'Lily Topples the World' documentary, learn about the entrepreneurial side of her world-record-breaking career, and explore the product development journey for her best-selling domino line. We hear about the role of engineering in testing domino tricks; discuss the importance of patience, failure, and imagination; and discover what tips Lily has for entrants of the QEPrize Create the Trophy competition.

Episode highlights

  • “Domino art involves setting up dominoes in very intricate ways, using different colours. You can make things like designs, you can make a person's name out of dominoes, or a logo and image […] And once you set it all up, of course, there's a big moment where you just tap the first piece and then everything falls down in a chain reaction.”
  • “I think my creativity comes from just watching the word, seeing motion in things and seeing designs in real life. I think the geometry of things—inherently how they're built—is inspiring. I could look outside and see, ‘oh, there's a tree and it makes this really interesting shape. I wonder how I could build that in dominoes’. It gets me curious to see how I can use different techniques to recreate, or put my own spin on it.”
  • “There's a lot that involves not just the artistic side, but also the technical aspect, because you have to make something that not only looks good, but technically requires a lot of engineering and figure out the weights that dominoes topple so that your tricks work. I think that's kind of what drew me to dominoes, because you get to be technical, but also very artistic with it.”
  • “With building dominoes, you have to do a lot of tests. I think just doing it through experience and practising and seeing how dominoes fall, you kind of get a sense of how everything moves physically. And then you can apply that to your structures and make even bigger projects.”
  • “I’m failing all the time. But I think the failures are really what's made me such an expert in dominoes now. That’s true with anything, if you're able to embrace the failures, and not just shy away from them, you're going to be equipped with so many things. It'll help you learn and become better at what you're doing.”
  • “Being patient is a really great and developed skill that you'll learn as you build dominoes […] My catchphrase on my YouTube channel is ‘keep on building’. And I think that applies not just to dominoes, but really to anything in life.”
  • On advice for Create the Trophy entrants: “You have to really think outside the box and do something that doesn't seem typical. Like if you really want to stand out, maybe it'll be fun to redesign what a trophy looks like, put your own spin on it, or combine it with something else. I feel like the more out there, but cool it is, the more people will be like, ‘Oh, that's awesome’.”

The Create the Future Podcast is available to listen on: