Gabriele Meyer

Senior Lecturer
Department of Mathematics, University of Wisconsin, Madison

I like to crochet hyperbolic surfaces. My contribution to the area was to crochet around shaped line, thus making the resulting surface curve in three dimensions. The technique is a composite of crocheting and basket making. Over the last several years my surfaces have become larger and require to be hung from the ceiling to preserve their integrity (so that they don't deform) and also for the visual impact. For this reason my submission consists of three images of more recent work.

I am very happy, that with my crocheting I am picking up on a very traditional European women's craft and giving it a new spin, connecting it to Mathematics.

The forms are inspired by ocean creatures like sea anemones, algae, also by flower blossoms and, surprisingly, by surfaces encountered in topology.

Hyperbolic Lamp Shade
24" x 24"
Photograph of a hyperbolic surface

The lamp shade is my most recent experiment as a light sculpture. It started out as a flat disk. Then I very gradually started the hyperbolic crochet, causing the waves at the perimeter.

With energy saving light bulbs which don't heat up, I could hang the surface within 10 cm of the bulbs. There is no burn risk. The holes in the crochet also help the warmer air circulate up and away from the crochet.

Blue Triangle Algae
36" x 16"
Photograph of a hyperbolic surface

The large blue triangle surface has a length of over 2 m. It was inspired by Ayelet Lindenstrauss-Larson's work on a smaller scale. It's literally a triangle, one side in shades of dark blue and the other in shades of light blue. The hyperbolic crochet causes it to warp.

Hyperbolic Half Plane with Handles, non orientable
36" x 20"
photograph of a hyperbolic surface

The hyperbolic half plane was one of my earlier experiments. The motivation was to make a surface that was of interest mathematically, to a topologist, and also make it look nice when hung up.