This past March, I joined a group of artists, mathematicians, and mathematician-artists collaborating on a math-art installation that is generating layer upon layer of mathematical and artistic thought, narrative, punning, and play. For me, during this summer of covid, the “Mathemalchemy” project has been an opportunity both to get to know a bunch of really interesting, dedicated, talented, creative people and to explore new objets d’clay. I’ve prototyped mixed-media herons and hagfish-inspired Fibonacci sea serpents for a Knotical scene, tortoise shells decorated with pentagonal and heptagonal tilings of the hyperbolic plane, and clay cat heads for an industrious feline baker of tessellating cookies, with more creatures still to come. These explorations are stimulating adventures for me outside of the project too. The first heron prototypes, for example, flew off to the Sculpture in the Garden show at the North Carolina Botanical Garden, and successive generations rounded out a recent Claymakers Zoom class on wheel-thrown and altered birds and beasts.
The project now has a website–mathemalchemy.org–that includes a video teaser as well as info about all 23 participating artists. Visit the website to learn more about the project, its history, and its makers!