Frank A Farris and Timea Tihanyi

Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science/Ceramic Artist
Santa Clara University/Slip Rabbit Studio
San Jose, California, USA/Seattle, Washington, USA

We are working together to bring patterned shapes designed initially by Farris into Tihanyi's physical world of clay. While Farris delights in perfect mathematical beauty, Tihanyi enjoys the challenges posed by ceramic media. Timea Tihanyi’s artworks probe conditions of subjectivity and objectivity. They explore the connection, and sometimes conflict, between intuition and logic, emotion and rationalism, the physical experience of the body and the cognitive experience of the mind. Her work invites direct participation and desires interaction. To this collaboration, Farris brings his techniques of finding spaces of functions that parametrize objects of given symmetry type, as outlined in his book Creating Symmetry.

Knit Cylinder #1 (from Stress Test series)
Knit Cylinder #1 (from Stress Test series)
7 x 18 x 18 cm
3D printed porcelain and glaze

We are both interested in the structure of woven and knit textiles, though for entirely different reasons. Farris uses Fourier series in Grasshopper to model the three basic regular knits: stockinette, garter, and ribbing. For a 3D design, we form the flat knit pattern onto a cylinder. The result from Grasshopper is "baked" into a mesh in Rhino. Tihanyi, after diligently repairing and modifying the mesh file, uses various 3D ceramic printers with fine porcelain to make each fragile piece. Our first knit cylinder captures the patterned beauty of the purely mathematical design, while exposing the reality encountered by anyone hoping to bring mathematics into the real world.