Charlene Morrow

Faculty, Psychology and Education
Mount Holyoke College
South Hadley, MA, USA

I work mainly in the medium of modular origami. I am motivated to understand mathematical ideas by attempting to express these ideas in visual ways. I am deeply impressed by the ways that visually pleasing art often emerges through the process of trying to gain a deeper understanding of the mathematical ideas I set out to explore. I also find that new questions emerge as I look for ways to express my original questions. The dialectical process of mathematical question – visual expression – mathematical question engages my imagination and allows me to experience both the beauty and the power of mathematics.

Pascal's Palette (front view)
16 x 24 inches framed
Origami kami paper, hand colored

This piece is a unit origami "quilt" made from 70 isosceles right triangles, hand colored and interlocked with tab and pocket construction. 35 triangles are each colored with a unique set of 4 colors, chosen from a set of 7 colors, thus representing all of the 4 color combinations that can be made. The remaining 35 triangles are each colored with a unique set of 3 colors chosen from the same 7 colors as above, thus representing all of the 3 color combinations that can be made. The quilt has this same property on both sides, although the colors appear in different areas of the origami units. The thumbnail image prominently displays the 3-colored side of the quilt while the image above features the 4-colored side. Pascal's triangle, which is a comprehensive catalog of combinatorial information, was the inspiration for this work.

Inspired by 70
16 x 20 inches framed
Laser color print on Bristol paper

The idea for this print was inspired by a friend's upcoming 70th birthday. My search for interesting mathematical connections with 70 led to the idea of combinations of a set of colors, which led to Pascal's triangle. This print represents the set of 4-color combinations and 3-color combinations chosen from 7 colors as described for the origami work above. Black dots encode the pairs of squares that represent non-overlapping 4-color and 3-color sets. Black squares and slanted lines encode separations between pairs that are not related in this way. Note that the number of combinations of 8 colors taken 4 at a time is also 70, which will lead to yet another print.