Making Mathematics with needle and thread: Quilts as Mathematical Objects

Speaker: Gerda de Vries

Date: Thu, Aug 18, 2016

Location: PIMS, University of British Columbia

Conference: PIMS Public Lecture

Subject: Mathematics

Class: Scientific


The connection between textiles and mathematics is intimate but not often explored, possibly because textiles and fiber arts have traditionally been the domain of women while mathematics was viewed as a male endeavour. How times have changed! Today, textiles and mathematics, like art and science, are recognized for their interwoven, complimentary attributes. In this presentation, mathematics professor Gerda de Vries will examine the connection between textiles and mathematics, in the context of both traditional and contemporary quilts. In a sense, every quilt is a mathematical object, by virtue of the fact that it has shape and dimension. But some quilts are more mathematical than others, and in very different ways. She will show how mathematical concepts such as symmetry, fractals, and algorithmic design show up in the world of quilting through serendipitous and intentional design.

This lecture is for a general audience. A background in mathematics is not needed, nor the ability to sew!

For more information see the event webpage.