Lisa Shier

Adjunct Professor
University of Maryland Global Campus
Huntsville, Alabama, USA

I have been experimenting with new media in mathematical art with an emphasis on things made possible by craft scale computer aided design and manufacturing. My tools have included an embroidery sewing machine and digital fabric and paper cutter.

Embroidery and papercrafting are almost exclusively practiced by women and girls, many of them not technically inclined. I see my work as bringing mathematics to an audience that has often retreated from the subject in confusion and frustration.

I am fascinated by the interplay of light and color. The creation of structures in three dimensions that are somewhat transparent brings out new possibilities that I am exploring.

A Tribute to Greek Mathematics
15 x 15 x 15 cm
Free standing lace in a posterboard frame

This work began as an experiment in using free standing lace to create a three dimensional artwork. The lace is created with an embroidery sewing machine so the pieces are necessarily flat. Polyhedra have flat faces, so this was my first choice. The dodecahedron is a Platonic solid, reminding of the many contributions of the ancient Greeks to mathematics. It has 12 faces, half of the 24 letters of the Greek alphabet. I chose to decorate the faces with Greek letters of special significance in mathematics. Six (half of 12) colors are used. No two faces with the same background or letter colors touch. The letters are one color to the right or left of the background color on the color wheel for 12 combinations.