I really love crochet art designed to reflect mathematical concepts!
All of our crochet is mathematical even if we aren’t thinking about that as we’re making it, but there are also some mathematical concepts that can be modeled using crochet.
The work of hyperbolic crochet artist Gabriele Meyer is one such example of this fascinating artistic representation.
Cornell mathematician Daina Taimina is known for discovering that hyperbolic space could be modeled using crochet. Previously, these models had been made of paper and were therefore so delicate that students couldn’t touch them.
Taimina solved that problem by using a skill she knew from her childhood in Latvia- crochet. One of the properties of hyperbolic space is that it expands exponentially as you move away from a point. Taimina represented this in crochet by increasing the number of stitches in each row.
The surface naturally begins to ruffle as you increase and this creates a model that shows the properties of hyperbolic space in a very tactile way.
In addition to being a brilliant model for demonstrating this mathematical concept, hyperbolic crochet looks beautiful.
Today I want to share the work of University of Wisconsin, Madison mathematics lecturer Gabriele Meyer who also creates hyperbolic crochet art.
Gabriele uses hyperbolic crochet to create unique artistic lampshades. She also makes crochet algae, flowers, and other organic shapes.
“In math, if you want to prove something really beautiful, you have to understand the structure,” she explains. “And the structure means you understand the beauty of an object and with that knowledge you oftentimes can make a very important and deep proof. That’s why beauty matters tremendously in mathematics.”
Meyer’s work was featured in the 2013 Bridges conference on mathematical connections in art, music, architecture, and culture. Her pieces are made by creating hyperbolic crochet around a shaped line, giving it structure in three dimensions.
Meyer shares that she is happy to give a new spin to a traditional European women’s craft while also connecting it to mathematics.
Her hyperbolic crochet is inspired by forms found in nature, such as sea anemones, flower blossoms, and algae. She is also inspired by forms found in topology, which is an area of mathematical and geometric study.
Create Your Own
You can create your own hyperbolic crochet creation at home! Check out the video tutorial below to see how.