Emilie Pritchard

Panama City, Florida, USA

I build geometric structures out of beads of metal, gemstone and glass, joining them with a needle and thread. Simple polyhedra are joined together to create more complex structures, which can be sculptural pieces or jewelry. Some are related to bridge trusses and other engineered structures; others have more in common with shapes found in nature. The mathematical basis of the work provides clarity within complex designs.

stellated offset icosahedron
13 x 13 x 13 cm
glass seed beads, joined with thread

The original inspiration for this piece was a work by George Hart, pictured in his gallery and called 30 Pieces of Copper. What interested me was the way the 20 edges of an icosahedron were shifted to create a pentagon at each vertex. I wanted to do it in beads, using colors to enhance the design. Then I decided to stellate it, making a tetrahedron out of each triangle. One advantage of beadwork is that it has enough flex that you can do things that aren't quite geometrically possible. For example, each unit this piece is a chain of 2bead x 2bead cubes, but the sides of the tetrahedrons, even though made of cube,s curve enough to make the angles work.

Octahedron chain
20 x 20 x 3 cm
silver tubes, anodised aluminum tubes, glass accent beads, joined with thread

This is a simple chain of octahedra, using sterling silver and anodised aluminum tubes. I'm a jewelry maker, so for my work the math is in the service of the piece of jewelry, here, a necklace, that I'm trying to create. A chain of equilateral octahedra would form a straight, slightly zagzag-ish line. To create the curve I needed to go around the neck I had to make the triangles on the outside of the piece longer than those on the inside. Accordingly, the triangles on the outside are isoceles, not equilateral. All the tubes in the piece are 25 mm long, except for the 2 lengthwise pieces on the outside triangles, which are a few mm longer.

Red tetrahedron chain
22 x 22 x 3 cm
oxidized copper tubes, anodised aluminum tubes, joined with thread, magnet clasp

A chain of tetrahedra naturally curves, since no 2 sides are parallel. With this piece I found just the right way to chain of equilateral tetrahedra for the curve I needed for a necklace. The red tubes highllight the geometry. 5 extra red tetrahedra on the outside edge embellish it.