Alison Grace Martin

Fivizzano - Italy

I'm exploring the potential of weaving as a method of construction and form finding. Weaving offers structural stability without the need for glue or other binding material. I enjoy this systematic, pattern based approach to construction and am fascinated by the way strong forms emerge from flimsy materials. The topology of the surface is dictated by the geometry of the mesh. I do not do any measuring or folding.

Basket makers weave pentagons in place of hexagonal cells in triaxial mesh to make curved and round forms. The flat mesh can also be deformed by substituting hexagons with heptagons (or any polygons with more than 6 sides) to produce a surface with negative curvature. It is a cheap and relatively rapid way to model the hyperbolic plane, (without the expense of a 3d printer.)

Basketry was suggested as a way to visualise complex geometry in the comic book about topology "Le Topologicon" by astrophysicist Jean-Pierre Petit in 1979.

Superficial Study (1) Intertwined Labyrinths
41 x 41 x 41 centimeters
bi-coloured paper strips

Eight cubic cells of the Schwarz P (primitive) surface named by Alan Schoen. This is a woven study like an infinite periodic minimal surface; related to hypothetical fullerene and graphitic structure.

The weaving pattern is made by combining straight lines (paper strips) which wrap around the surface following approximately geodesic paths.

This work is inspired by the beauty of nature's systems with their inherent efficiency and performance, and strives to embody a self-organised micro system.

"It is the business of logic to invent purely artificial structures of elements and relations. Sometimes one of these structures is close enough to a real situation to be allowed to represent it. And then, because the logic is so tightly drawn, we gain insight into the reality which was previously withheld from us" (Notes on the Synthesis of Form by Christopher Alexander, 1964.)

Superficial Study (2) Holey Ball
31 x 31 x 31centimeters
bi-coloured paper strips

Study of high genus fullerene structure with hexagons and heptagons (no pentagons).

Topology shows that many structures in nature might well be built with constant negative curvature.

Inspiration comes from the natural forms I see as I work outdoors; I observe similar structures and geometries in the clathrus ruber species of fungus, and in some seeds and pollen grains.

Superficial Study (3) Partition
25 x 40 x 35 centimeters
bi-coloured paper strips

Division of space into 2 congruent regions. Woven version of a minimal surface

"The language of surface shape is a rich one: some familiar forms like the sphere or the plane, are deeply imbued in our consciousness, while others remain difficult to describe and visualise in terms that are intuitively reasonable to all of us raised on the limited vocabulary afforded by the simpler forms.....if we are to understand natural structures, it is necessary to obtain as full an intuition about surface forms as possible." (Stephen Hyde, 'A catalogue of surfaces' in his book The Language of Shape 1997)

Tiling a surface with semi regular mesh - in this case hexagons and equilateral triangles in an approximation to circle packings, seamlessly and with smooth parameter lines is desirable for subdivision of surface applications.