Ellie Baker

Artist and Computer Scientist
Lexington, MA

For me, creating visual art reflects a quest for deeper understanding--of science, mathematics, society, or self--and a wish to share the quest.

This piece includes bead crochet bracelet models of a torus link and torus knot. The bead crochet designs are an outgrowth of an extended research project with Susan Goldstine on applications of mathematics to bead crochet. Bead crochet's stretchiness and flexibility give it a topological flavor that lends itself nicely to exploring knot and link constructions. In our new book, “Crafting Conundrums: Puzzles and Patterns for the Bead Crochet Artist” (AK Peters/CRC Press), we devote a chapter to torus knots, going from thought experiments to practical bead crochet constructions.

Linked or Knot: Do We Have Anything in Common?
Linked or Knot: Do We Have Anything in Common?
12 X 8 inches
glass beads, thread, colored pencil on mylar

On a circle with P evenly spaced perimeter points, connecting every Qth point produces a star polygon when P and Q are relatively prime or (if the process is repeated for any unused points) a compound star figure when P and Q have a common factor. This artwork explores connections between star polygons, star figures, torus knots, and torus links. On the left is a (6,4) star figure evolving into a (6,4) torus link. On the right is a (5,4) star polygon evolving into a (5,4) torus knot. The viewer is invited to ponder the structure of the objects portrayed and the relationships between them.