Charlene Morrow

Faculty, Psychology and Education Department
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.

In Celebration of 84
In Celebration of 84
20 inches x 20 inches
Ink on paper

The basic unit of this print is a set of 84 pentagonal "Cairo tiles," each uniquely 3-colored using a total of 9 colors. Since "9 choose 3" is 84, all combinations are represented. There are 4 basic units in this print: 3 units are colored as above, but each with different color arrangements, and the fourth unit is a black-line framework of the 84 pentagons to help the viewer see the underlying grid of 84 pentagons for each unit. This work was an outgrowth of a my "Pascal's Palette" origami quilt comprised of 70 pieces and based on a "7 choose 3" + "7 choose 4" coloring. The unfolded 3-color units in the origami artwork are pentagons (Cairo tile shaped), which led to an exploration of possible tilings and colorings for Cairo Tiles. The first version of this print was designed for a friend's 84th birthday.