Charlene Morrow

Faculty, Psychology and Education
Mount Holyoke College
South Hadley, MA, USA

I work mainly in the medium of modular origami. I am motivated to understand mathematical ideas by attempting to express these ideas in visual ways. I am deeply impressed by the ways that visually pleasing art often emerges through the process of trying to gain a deeper understanding of the mathematical ideas I set out to explore. I also find that new questions emerge as I look for ways to express my original questions. The dialectical process of mathematical question – visual expression – mathematical question engages my imagination and allows me to experience both the beauty and the power of mathematics. (Photo Credit: Laura Weston, Digitization Specialist, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum.)

Solar Orbits
Solar Orbits
12" x 30"

This origami quilt, inspired by a wall drawing by Sol LeWitt, was folded from 408 squares of paper. LeWitt’s Wall Drawing #413 was analyzed using group theoretic ideas, and an algorithm was developed by which such a work could be constructed. This algorithm, with allowable variations, was then used to create Solar Orbits. The construction involves symmetries of a square, orbits, and permutations. The four-color squares are connected with a tab and pocket construction, thus no tape or glue holds the quilt together. The four sections of 24 squares each are separated to emphasize a subtle color sorting that can also be found in the LeWitt wall drawing. Details for the analysis are described in the paper, "A Group Theory Approach to (re)Constructing Sol LeWitt's Drawing Series IV, #413," published in the proceedings of Bridges 2011, co-authored with James Morrow.