James Mallos

Silver Spring, MD USA

I am interested in weaving both as a practical means of making surfaces and for its connotations of collaboration and conflict. The topic of maps (the embedding of graphs in surfaces) is a mathematical common ground for all the fabric arts. These works express my interest in the smallest maps and the shapes they make.

13" x 19" x 13"
aluminum and brass eyelets

The simplest graph that embeds in the torus is the "bouquet of two circles." Charmed with what the Flexeez construction toy makes of the this simple graph embedding, I have sculpted a variation in aluminum. The game is to imagine the presence of the missing topological disks that would complete the surface of the torus.

2" x 24" x 24"
Flexeez construction toy and cloth

The tetrahedron has a close relative that also has four trivalent vertices and six edges, but is not a polyhedron: it is the digonal prism, a prism with two-sided faces (digons) at each end. The Flexeez construction toy can easily make a digonal prism. In fact, in making a digonal prism, each Flexeez can be played in one of two ways: long or short. This creates, from one simple map on the sphere, a large number of what chemists call deformation isomers, compounds that differ only in bond length. This work includes the 21 binary deformation isomers of the digonal prism. It is interesting to me how biology-like they are in both the building process and the resulting shapes.