Mathematics of Making Programme—a History

This programme of study emerged from a life-long practice of art making using Making with Rigour on the part of individual team members. In 2012, we formed a research group to investigate more systematically the way in which mathematics is involved in learning how to make craft objects.

Using Making with Rigour, we work on answering questions such as:

  • How was this made?
  • What is the essential form of this artefact?
  • What are the basic, structural and formal principles for making this form?
  • What are some structural constraints or affordances of this technique/approach/medium?
  • What is the underlying structure of the form?
  • What other forms can be created?
  • What are some of the aesthetic or mathematical choices involved?
  • What path do individual elements travel? How are these related to each other?
  • What colourpatterns can be produced in the forms?
  • What is the best approach for making this form? where to start?
  • How can this artefact and its making process be represented or recorded for communicating its structure or for future replication?
  • ...

Our first project involved the investigation of various artefacts that are made using narrow bands of leaf, paper or ribbon. These fall into three categories:

Earlier individual projects have also included investigations in:

  • The Giant Triangles
  • Origami (modular, circular and on bands)
  • Beadwork (Peyote, loom weaving, etc.)
  • Quilting
  • Handloom, Dobby and Jacquard weaving
  • Narrow wares (kumihimo, inkle loom, tablet weaving)