Friday, 12 November 2010

science museum(s)

As inpiration for my research topic I visited both the History of Science Museum in Oxford, and the London Science Musuem. I only had a short amount of time in each, and took hundreds of photos to make up for this. Another visit is definately due.

In particular I liked the 'Strange Surfaces' exhibition in the Mathematics section of the Science Museum. This included mathematical surface models made of cardboard and string. These are an example of descriptive geometry and have been used to illustrate geometric ideas in mathematics since the 1840's.

'A mathematical surface model is one that follows a mathematical formula or definition, or illustrates a mathematical concept'.

In particular I liked these cardboard sliceforms by John Sharp. They made me think of different ways of cutting and joining and contructing shapes. I suppose there are lots of possibilities in the area of three dimensional knit design to cover and wrap a supporting framework in knitting. This is an area I have thought about before and rejected. Part of my interest in this area is in developing and manipulating the fabric on the machine and not afterwards. It has reaffirmed the idea that I definately want to construct from within the fabric, and then construct a product from that fabric.

The mathematical instruments were inspiration in themselves.

Everything about these instruments is pleasing to me. The symmetry, repetitive patterning and grid divisions as design inspiration. Also, something about the similarity to the knitting machine bed makes me think of patterning & counting as I work.

A sketchbook sample based on these ideas

Once again the use of glass and light in the form of prisms and telescopes (and this cylindroid) had me thinking of relection and refraction.

As you would expect there were also hundreds of other brilliant and inspiring three dimensional objects on display. Here are a few more:

All of these shapes and colours and structures have energised my 3D aspirations, and given me a bit of clarity of how I am going to combine my inspirational science & maths subject matter with knitting.


  1. You should look at Patternity too for images and inspiration.
    Which will actually be great for the students as a research tool!!

  2. Thanks the architecture and colours!

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