James Mallos

Washington, District of Columbia, USA

I am interested in simple descriptions of surfaces and shapes. Woven structures are a practical bridge between surface and shape: they are shape shifters that can take many conformations by accommodating shear deformations, but they tend to favor one with minimum bending energy, eventually settling into a definite shape. In this work I have been interested in halting shear deformations by using weaving elements that are shaped to interlock and force 90-degree crossings. The thin sheet metal flexes enough to allow this sculpture to assembled, reassembled, or extended. Interlocking also makes optional the traditional over-and-under movements of basket weaving which can be difficult to perform with long weaving elements in a tight space.

Diamond Weft
Diamond Weft
44 x 44 x 44 cm
Sheet metal

Peter Pearce, in his book, Structure in Nature is a Strategy for Design, invites us to view triply periodic minimal surfaces as tessellations consisting of straight-edged, but non-planar, skew polygons. His tessellation of the Schwarz D-surface-- reminiscent of that of squares in the plane, also important to weaving-- consists entirely of straight lines crossing at 90-degree angles. However, the D-surface, unlike the plane, twists through 90 degrees between those crossings! This sculpture is an 8 skew-hexagon portion of Pearce's tessellation of the Schwarz D-surface. The creased weaving elements possess a varying, right-triangular cross-section with the hypotenuse missing. The missing hypotenuse is the part that lies in the D-surface.