Elaine Krajenke Ellison

retired mathematics teacher, artist
retired from West Lafayette High School, Purdue University
Sarasota, Florida

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 50 mathematical quilts! The quilts range in size from large wall-sized pieces to my newest "Finding Archimedes" that measures a mere 24 inches by 24 inches. This quilt was inspired by our Bridges visit to the Walters Museum in 2012. "Behold! Buttons" was also completed in 2012 and it measures 54 inches by 75 inches. Behold! Buttons is based on Andrei Kolmogorov's question to his mother when he was a mere lad: "How many different ways can a four-holed button be sewn on a shirt?" I thought this was a great use of the combination formula. Viewers enjoy looking at the various network patterns.

Behold! Buttons
54 inches by 75 inches
mathematical quilt

Andrei Kolmogorov asked his mother when he was a young lad: "How many ways can a four-hole button be sewn on a shirt?" I thought the question was a good one---along with a great application of the combination formula that we teach in Algebra II. The 63 networks are shown in the quilt. Viewers enjoy looking at the various paths the thread would make when the button is actually sewn on the shirt. An article in The Mathematics Teacher inspired me to create this fascinating quilt.

Finding Archimedes
24 inches by 24 inches
mathematical quilt

Our Bridges organization visited the Walters Museum in 2012. We heard about the exhibit that had been at the museum earlier in the year regarding Archimedes. The Stomachion or Bellyache (a l4 piece puzzle from his documents) interested me. I thought it would make a great quilt! The actual quilting features Archimedes' portrait. I specifically quilted with very fine thread so the lighting on the quilt would reveal the portrait. Archimedes lived from roughly 287 BC to 212 BC. Some believe that he was the greatest mathematician of antiquity.