Recently, one of our star business card folders, Jacob Dotson, stopped by with a number of new structures he’s been working on. He’s discovered that by folding cards on the bias he can make pyramidal units that link together like Jeannine Mosely’s traditional business card cubes. This folding innovation allows for a new range of architectures, particularly ziggurat-like forms. The bias-folded cards open a window for exploration: “This is just the beginning” Dotson says. “I’ve got lots of ideas for where this can go.”
Danish Hearts Workshop
On Saturday May 11, Judy Tanenbaum hosted a workshop on folding Danish paper hearts. Legend has it that these paper confections were invented by fairytale writer Hans Christian Anderson who folded the first simple design for his sweetheart. In modern times the repertoire of heart designs has been expanded into a mind-blowing oeuvre by the Danish artistan Knud Vaegter. These little topological mysteries are a great deal harder to make than it first appears, but the intense satisfaction of getting one done overcame our frustrations and yielded the unexpected marvel of tiny geometric universes in their interiors. The discovery of these miniature inner worlds resulted from the choice of starkly colored and neon-bright papers, bringing to this gentle art touches of a Barbarella aesthetic.
Polyhedral Beading Workshop
At our workshop on May 3, we learned how to craft platonic solids and other geometric structures from bugle beads. Kathryn Harris, our beading master facilitator, wowed us with this miniature fusion of geometry and craft. Strung together by gossamer-thin wire, the tiny solids seemed to crystalize in our hands reminding us of Plato’s thesis that the basic elements of nature – earth, air, fire and water, plus the ineffable aether – were material incarnations of these perfectly regular mathematical forms.
Out of Fashion at gl Holtegaard
Two sculptures from the IFF’s Coral Forest series are included in the Out of Fashion exhibition that is currently on view at the gl Holtegaard Museum in Copenhagen. Later in the summer the show will travel to the KUNSTEN Museum of Modern Art in Aalborg, Denmark. In the curator’s words,
Out of Fashion points to the link between art and clothing and to the handicraft itself as a typically female occupation. Precisely handicraft – embroidery, crochet work and sewing have in recent years become synonymous with a kind of anti-art, or rebel-art, where female artists use the craft to convey political and social messages.
The Coral Forest is a recent outgrowth of the IFF’s Crochet Coral Reef, merging the original project’s delicate and refined sensibility with the colossal and punk rock. Artists in the exhibition are Alice Creischer (D), Brian Getnick (US), Cosima von Bonin (D), Elmgreen & Dragset (DK/NO), Erwin Wurm (A), Grayson Perry (UK), Gudrun Hasle (DK), Hotel Pro Forma (DK), Institute For Figuring (US), Kaarina Kaikkonen (FIN), Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen (DK), Maiken Bent (DK), Moran Sanderovich (IL), Nicholas Hlobo (ZA), Yinka Shonibare MBE (UK), Zac Monday (US).
The work pictured above and Requium Reeficus by Dr. Axt for the Institute For Figuring are the two sculptures included in the exhibition.
IFF Director Margaret Wertheim has just returned from an exploratory trip to Abu Dhabi where discussions are underway about the possibility of doing a Satellite Reef of our Crochet Coral Reef project in the United Arab Emirates. Islamic culture has had a long and deep engagement with mathematical tessellation patterns, which traditional artisans realize in a vast array of media, from terra-cotta mosaics to relief carved marble and exquisitely detailed inlaid stone-work. Here in the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Islamic engagement with tessellations is magnificently on display. This is one of the mosque’s 82 domes, the foremost of which are adorned with some of the world’s largest and most intricate chandeliers. Islamic tessellations are featured in the IFF’s current Making Space exhibition, which has mathematical tilings as one of its core themes.
Going to the Hayward
During summer 2013, the IFF will be participating in an exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in London. Titled, An Alternative Guide to the Universe, the exhibition will display works by outsider artists, scientists, engineers, architects, linguists and other self-taught thinkers. IFF director Margaret Wertheim is curating the section on outsider physics, which will present works and theories by Jim Carter – the main subject of the IFF’s 2012 exhibition Physics on the Fringe - and Philip Blackmarr, a remarkable theorist we have recently come to know in Pasadena.
Recently Philip stopped by with some of his exquisite models of subatomic particles crafted from thousands of pieces of paper folded into tiny semi-regular solids such as the cube-octahedrons pictured above. These complex and enchanting models illustrate Blackmarr’s theory of Quantum Geometry which offers an alternative to standard quantum theory. Quantum Geometry posits that all matter particles are composed from subatomic arrays comprised from minute octahedra arranged into various three-dimensional lattice-like patterns. We’ll be posting more about Blackmarr’s work then the Hayward show opens in June.
We Are All Corals Now
On Monday March 18, IFF Director Margaret Wertheim will present the 2013 Templeton Lecture at the University of Sydney. Margaret’s talk “We Are All Corals Now” will discuss the IFF’s Crochet Coral Reef project as a metaphor for human action in the face of global warming.
Awesome Bamboo Stick Thing
On March 2, “liberation geometer” Jacob Dotson led an IFF workshop on making polyhedral structures from bamboo sticks. Dotson has began work on a giant lattice composed from hundreds of interpenetrating octahedral units. With its factal-like architecture, the finished structure will also have octahedral symmetry. We can’t wait to see the final form.
Bamboo Platonic Solids Workshop
Today we welcome Jake Dotson, our facilitator for the Bamboo Platonic Solids Workshop. Weaving starts at 3pm. Stay tuned for updates and photos of our colorful geometries!