Textile Inspirations: Mathematics

October 19, 2008 at 6:08 pm | Posted in Inspiration, Knitting | 2 Comments

A friend of mine observed that I had quite a few projects with mathematical connections lately. And, looking back, she’s absolutely right. We’ve had hexagonal tilings, hyperbolic crochet and a fractal quilt:

I also finished Celestine, which I didn’t design myself, but which definitely appeals to me because it’s a regular geometric figure:

For me, mathematics and textile art fit perfectly together. A big part of mathematics is all about patterns of different kinds, and while not all of those can be visualized easily, a surprising number can. The works of M. C. Escher are just one example of what’s possible. And as soon as you go into three-dimensional structures, there are cases where visualization is much easier with a flexible medium like thread and fabric than stuck on a two-dimensional piece of paper or models built with paper and glue. The hyperbolic crochet is a very good example for this.

Today I had another possibility to let myself be inspired by mathematics, and I wasn’t disappointed. 2008 is the “Year of Mathematics” in Germany, and consequently the Munich Science Days are all about mathematics. Aimed at children and teenagers to get them interested in studying a maths-related subject, there were a lot of hands-on exhibits to play with. One thing to take home were different exhibits featuring computer graphics for visualizing mathematical structures. Imaginary allows to create impressive images. They are probably not as impressive on your own monitor as on the huge projections in the exhibit, but then exhibitions on the internet are open 24/7! 😉 For textile inspiration, I like the Ornaments program to draw on tiled surfaces, which leads to instant quilt patterns. I haven’t explored most of the other things on the page yet, but the possibilities are endless.

Taking different fields of mathematics for inspiration, I don’t think I could ever run out of ideas for textile projects, and I love to show off images from a field of science that’s often thought off as boring and dry.


Falling Leaves

October 12, 2008 at 2:14 pm | Posted in Inspiration | Leave a comment

Yep, it’s this time of the year again. I love fall, and since today is an exceptionally warm and sunny day, I decided to take a walk round the neighbourhood and take in the sights. I never get bored walking along the same paths over and over again. Just watching the seasons go by keeps me amused all year.

Today I decided to have a closer look, so I took the camera, my sketchbook and a folder to collect some leaves. Being on the lookout for good picture opportunities helps me to slow down and actually see things I would have missed otherwise. While I was looking for nice leaves to take home, I noticed a few interesting things: Some trees lose their leaves when they’re almost green, others get a lot of colour and the coloured leaves fall down, and still others keep their leaves till they are dry and brown. Any leaf you collect from one of the latter trees will be dry and brown by necessity. Some trees have lost almost all their leaves by now, while others are still keeping most of theirs. The tree in my backyard is in between: the uppermost branches have been blown bare by the strong winds of last week, below is a large area with mostly yellow leaves, and towards the ground the leaves are still green, so you get a layered tree! There are even different sounds when you walk through a puddle of leaves from different trees. I find it really fun and inspiring to slow down for once and really look and listen. So, here are my findings:

Those will remind me of this walk for a few more days, and maybe inspire a fall-themed project or two. Nature in all its forms is a never-ending source of inspiration for me, so I’m not likely to run out of ideas anytime soon.

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