Gabriele Meyer

Senior Lecturer
Department of Mathematics, University of Wisconsin

One of my art activities is crocheting hyperbolic surfaces. They are inspired by mathematical ideas and by nature as it may occur in sea life. I love smooth curved lines, and wavy surfaces. That was one very big reason which attracted me to mathematics, in particular topology.

yellow and blue hyperbolic algae surrounding an ovoid
70 x 35 cm

This object started out as an ovoid. I then crocheted two axes on opposite sides of the ovoid. With each subsequent loop along these axes around the ovoid I increased the top and bottom extensions of the algae.

For the ovoid I used a thicker plastic wire, so that it would keep its large, relatively flat shape (of varying positive curvature). For the wavy hyperbolic algae parts I used a thinner plastic wire, permitting more negative curvature.

hyperbolic disc splitting into two fibers at the rim
45 x 45 x 45 cm
shaped line and polyester yarn

This surface started out as a plain hyperbolic disk. At some point, rather than crocheting a single loop around the disk, I crocheted two parallel loops around the same disk, one in white and one in purple. Thus a central disk at its perimeter branches into two parallel annuli. They turned out to have more or less the same curvature, which is why they run pretty much in parallel. I made them to intersect each other, so that I could crochet the entire object in one go. This is a technical challenge, something I love to solve.