Saturday, August 2, 2008

Beauty in numbers

Caryl Bryer Fallert got miffed the last time I included her quilt in one of my blogs, mostly because I misspelled her name just a bit. I double checked to make sure its right this time.

I try to not always refer to the same artists. But Caryl is one of those gifted subversive stitchers who needles us with color and beauty and makes us see things from a different perspective.

Her series of Fibonacci quilts certainly make me look at math with new eyes. Her Fibonacci 4, shown here definitely departs from any concept I had about Fibonacci and his series of numbers.

I thought of her work and a Zen quilt I featured previously on this blog when trying to figure out what I wanted to hang between the two mirrors in my newly remodeled bathroom. I wanted something to hang from the high ceiling that would cascade down like a waterfall, but more abstract. I might applique some tropical leaves to it, but something that hints of Asian misty rivers and brings calm to the area. In my searching for the right quilt, I stumbled across Fibonacci, Phi and the golden rectangle.

Diana Venters and Elaine Ellison share a love of math and quilting. Together they have created more than 100 quilts since their collaboration began in the 1980s. The idea of basing a quilt of mine on mathematical theories would make anyone who knows me roll on the floor and laugh till they cry. Me and math -- not a good match. But I've always been enthralled with this 'language of numbers' that I could never quite figure out. I've enjoyed reading about the magic of mathematics, too. Golden Phi -- so mystical and a basis for the world's structures. At least that's what Mario Livio puts forth in his delightful book "The Golden Ratio."

If at a loss for a pattern, Electric Quilt, offers the ability to design a pattern based upon mathematical concepts. One of them inspired my bathroom design with slight variations, here it is. Not exactly a waterfall -- but think narrower, longer, and blues. Well, I tend to write about quilts more than I construct them, but I've enjoyed imagining this one. Math quilts amaze me. Those based on the same theories turn out so different. I think Caryl's Fibonacci series shows that compared to my little Zen quilt concept here.

I have high hopes for my little Zen waterfall quilt. But then I have high hopes for every project I start and then stuff into a corner of my crap, I mean, craft room. I'd love to see what others have made using mathematics.

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