Gabriele Meyer

Senior Lecturer
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Madison, WI

Artist Statement

Mathematical shapes, the shadows they throw, and that are formed on them, have always fascinated me greatly. Sometimes you can find them in nature, in sea creatures such as shells, snails and algae and also in some leaves. So first I tried to paint and linoprint images of them. Now I create them via crocheting. I found a new technique, whereby I crochet around shaped plastic line. This makes the crochet surface hold its curved shape. It is an intermediate technique between crocheting and basket making.

Using different crochet techniques one can create solid surfaces or those with holes. Light shining at these different textures can create beautiful effects.

The surfaces are hyperbolic, which means that locally near any point the surface will look like a saddle. This makes the hyperbolic surface very different from a flat or a spherical one: a flat surface looks like a piece of paper everywhere. A spherical surface looks locally curved like the earth. The hyperbolic plane comes in two views, one as a disk with wavy perimeter, and the other one as a long band with waviness on one side. I crochet both.

After seeing them created by computer graphics, it’s been an amazing experience to be able to make these shapes come into being.

Red Blossom
18" x 18" x 26"
yarn and shaped line

this is a hyperbolic surface shaped like a blossom. The blossom part is a hyperbolic disk. It extends to the stem, which would be a handle extending to infinity.

white Poincare disk
17" x 17" x 17"
yarn and shaped line

This is a realization of the hyperbolic Poincare disk.

The picture is by Catherine Kutka of the Nohr Gallery in Platteville, WI