Paula Krieg

Hebron, New York, USA

I’m an artist who makes books and teaches book arts, and I've become surprisingly besotted with an earlier love, math, which expands the range of ideas I can explore through drawings and paper constructions. I’ve been especially captivated by the mathematical principles embedded in the structure of the Chinese thread books called Zhen Xian Bao. These are diminutive, decorative, handmade containers that begin as slim folders—or so they appear—which open up to reveal a series of layered, flattened boxes. After studying the many variations of the traditional form, designed to store sewing supplies, I'm now experimenting with new versions, bringing together my interest in geometric patterns, tessellated folds and functional design.

Hidden Boxes for the Math Artist
17 x 42 x 12 cm
Paper, Denim, Thread, Glue

This new adaptation is a folder called Hidden Boxes for the Math Artist. Between its covers are layered, expandable boxes that not only store tools but become tools themselves. Square Alhambra patterns on the rectangular boxes handily help measure length; one design defines inches, the other centimeters. Also hidden within are a pair of hexagonal boxes that pop up and dilate into upright pencil holders, adorned with curves of pursuit. Helpful 30-60-90 triangles form at the base of the hexagons. A tray for paper storage is the bottommost layer and a pocket on the front stores notes when the folder is closed.