Elizabeth Matson

Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Division of Mathematics and Computer Science, Alfred University
Alfred, New York, USA

Throughout my educational journey, I have embraced my love of math as a career and art as stress relief. I received a Ph.D. in mathematics from Auburn University, pursuing art within my dissertation and crocheting to relax. Moving to New York, teaching about hyperbolic planes at Alfred University, I was often asked "what do they look like?" As a result of these questions, I was interested to explore how to create a tactile representation of a hyperbolic plane and kept pushing the boundaries of what I could create. Noting the similarity in the shape of a hyperbolic plane model to flowing skirts, this piece was formulated. As a female mathematician, I am proud to have created a feminine and mathematically complex piece of wearable art.

Questions in Calculus Made Wearable
74 x 163 x 1 cm
Yarn, 5.00 mm Crochet Hook, Stitch Markers, and Buttons.

Discussing the wavy nature of crocheted hyperbolic plane models with a colleague, Dr. Amanda Lipnicki at Alfred University, I came up with the idea to make a hyperbolic plane skirt, which was at first a joke based on how large the piece would be. Following the pattern originally created by Daina Taimina, I crocheted a hyperbolic plane model increasing in every 30th stitch. There are skipped stitches, always in sets of three rows, with increased spacing in between as the width of the piece increases, to help visually illustrate how the piece is growing both in its height and width. A depiction of the sum of the angles in a triangle being less than pi and a contradiction of the parallel postulate for hyperbolic planes are found at the top.