Elaine Krajenke Ellison

retired mathematics teacher/mathematical quilt artist
West Lafayette High School, Purdue University
West Lafayette, Indiana
The appreciation and demystification of mathematics is a common thread that runs through my mathematical art. Drawing, bronze, painting, glass, and photography were mediums I had investigated prior to l980. In the early l980's, I settled on fabric to tell my mathematical stories. Mathematical quilt topics range from 2000 B.C. to the mathematics of the present time. I have quilted over 45 mathematical quilts! Most of the quilts are small, as I travel with them. Many ideas for quilting were discovered at Bridges Conferences. Thank you Bridges!
Mathematical Harmony
30.5 " X 45.5"
fabric quilt, dye, paint
2008
Inspired by Dmitri Tymoczko's work on mathematics and music, this work of art was generated to bring the relationships of music and mathematics to the forefront. Music, like mathematics, has an abstract notation that is used to represent abstract structures. Pythagoras 570 B.C.E.-490 B.C.E. is said to have discovered the harmonic progressions in the notes of the music scale. An example of this discovery was made with a string that was stretched and then half the string length was stretched. Both strings were plucked. The shorter string sounded exactly one octave lower than the longest string. The pythagoreans investigated other string relationships, always finding who number relationships between the notes. This reinforced their thought that "number is everything."
Tiled Torus
36" x 36"
fabric quilt, thread painting
2009
Tiled Torus was inspired by the work of John Sharp, Craig S. Kaplan, M. C. Escher, and Huff. Each of these individuals are interested in tiles that morph from one tile to another. I found I became intrigued with parquet deformations and began to work on designs that could be quilted. What began as a quilt to be pieced, quickly turned into a quilt that was to be appliqued. In order to get the polygons to look sharp, the applique technique had to be used. Quite by accident, this tiling turned out to be a torus that could be cut and laid flat. The left and the right sides of the pattern complete to comprise a cylinder, as do the top and the bottom of the design.