About the Work: Informal and Expanded

Since 1997, I have used the same language to describe my work: Abstract forms whose conceptual purpose is to articulate narratives of identity in the language of crocheted fiberglass and to disintegrate and redefine expectations of a sculptural object. This still holds true but, with a new chapter in my work which began in 2007, I added: This work engages math, an underlying principle in all of life, as a structural foundation.

Often, I am asked to explain what I mean by narrative; what am I saying about identity; the relevance of the crochet is perhaps not as understood as I’d like; and now, my use of math beckons an introduction. The following informal thoughts: summarize where my current studio investigation began; mark moments and events that led to significant evolutionary changes in the work from the beginning until now; explain what I do, why I do it, and what I think about; address the issues of narrative, identity, the crochet, and the math.

Issues discussed:

Background: Relevant points that mark the beginning of the current work
Abstracting narratives of identity
Crocheting the fiberglass
Issues to Consider
On Lace, Identity, and Pattern
Important mid-stream realization
The issue of women’s work
Inherent humanness within the material and process
Why “the narrative”
Brief definitions of the numbers and number sequences that I use
Math in my work
DIGITS Exhibition: The beginning of the math driven work

Background: Relevant points that mark the beginning of the current work

By the end of BFA school, I learned that:

1) Every material and process has its own specific language, that is, given the same word to express in additive wood, vs. subtractive wood, vs. cast concrete, vs. welding together scrap steel, or whatever, if you follow the natural behavior and processes of each material, the resultant expression will be completely different.

2) I love the chase. I love having my hands in the material to discover what it can do. I love the process of translating my thoughts into the language of a specific material. I love the chase or journey that is the process of finding an abstract expression.

3) I believe in specificity and a real world referent. Non-objective forms do not interest me. Generic, non-specific forms do not hold my interest. In BFA school, my abstract work was based on single words, adjectives and nouns, devoid of context. This was no longer enough.

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Abstracting narratives of identity

I was looking for abstract minimalism with a soul and went to narrative to find that soul. Now I understand that the soul I was seeking is specificity. Specificity and individuation. As I began MFA school, I decided that my chase was defined as “abstracting narratives of identity”. “Abstracting narratives” because abstracting single words ripped out of context was not satisfying. “Narratives of identity” because I thought that if you go on about something, it is best if it is a subject you know something about. I began MFA school during my second year of marriage so a natural place for me to go during that time was identity. Also, I am an immigrant. As I grew older I realized that I don’t really fit here, and as I began to go back to Prague regularly, I realized that I don’t really fit there. I think that whether I was aware of it or not, identity has always been an issue that interested me. Knowing that we as individuals are the sum of many parts, I do get curious about which of my tendencies are “Czech” and which are “American”. I am curious about the whys of behavior. Genetics? Anomalies in genetics? Immediate culture and social structure?

Abstracting narratives of identity. What does that mean? What does that mean in my studio? What does that look like? What degree of abstraction to literal representation would it have? What do I want to say? How will the material articulate this? This line of questioning is in part responsible for the evolution of the work from then till now. The initial two years of pushing these questions led me to find fiberglass and polyester resin as “the” material. I started with fiberglass mat, fiberglass insulation, and laminating resin. A three year commitment to a rigorous material and process exploration, “what is this new stuff and how do I use it to say what I want to say”, led to a bit more complexity in the dialogues articulated and also the discovering of continuous fiberglass roving, the form of fiberglass I currently crochet. I found the material but did not yet know what to do with it.

The formal exploration of materials and processes pushed me into questions and issues of identity construction that I did not think of on my own. These new conceptual pursuits led to further material exploration and discovery. Back and forth, over the years, the evolution of one facilitates advancement in the other. Seems that within this game of volleying back and forth, on the average, it takes me three years to take the next single small step forward. My studio, one can say, is driven by asking the original questions, still, and each year trying to clarify further by which to make better.

By narrative, I mean more than a noun. I mean a noun within specific circumstances, affected by relationships and forces. Abstracting narratives of identity, “what does that mean” and “what do I want to say” are still within the active line of questioning in my studio. Like proficiency with any other tool, my use of “identity narrative” began in a limited and awkward place and, with time and mileage, advanced to a more skillful and confident place.

The first forms back in 1992 (start of MFA) came from a place of “how does the world make me feel, how am I seen, how do I see myself”, working with a single identity, with a single body, within a single object. The forms had body referents: lots of ovaries, references to male and female genitalia, morphed into shields and farm tools, i.e. shovels, feeding troughs, funnels, bowls, and other work/utility tools. The concepts were limited and the forms too literal.

After three years of that stuff, I was still within the identity of a single body, self or external perceptions, but starting not from a point of reproduction but from points of strength, center, support, comfort. Still using very literal referents, spines and comforters. This was the second year post-MFA and also second year into the initial fiberglass exploration.

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Crocheting the fiberglass

A major studio event occurred, at Cub Foods, at 1 a.m. So, am still within the body conceptually, still in individual identity, still discovering aspects of fiberglass, continuous roving gathering dust in my studio without a clear formal purpose. I’m at Cub Foods at 1 a.m. I see tripe (the stomach of cow) as I walk by the meat counter. A studio epiphany!! I see tripe…I see fat and lace at the same time…I see beauty and ugliness in the same form. If I don’t exploit this in my identity dialogue…shame on me, I thought. I associated lace with crocheting so as soon as I woke the next day, I found a craft store, bought a basic instruction book on how to crochet baby booties and pot holders and assorted crochet hooks. I was crocheting fiberglass by dinner time!!

Another 3 year learning curve exploring crocheted fiberglass as material and as material language. What is it and how do I use it??

The next studio changing event, 3 years after the “tripe incident”, thereby after 3 years of learning what to do with crocheted fiberglass, I go back to Prague for the first time in 30 years. I discover that besides beer, their next biggest national identity item is the Czech tradition of lace!!

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Issues to Consider

Tripe soup is a Czech delicacy, part of my culture, long forgotten by me. Would I have seized the moment at Cub Foods if tripe was not a part of my childhood? Was lace in my buried memory somewhere? Would I be crocheting fiberglass right now if I did not begin this life as a little Czech girl? Perhaps the tripe simply presented an option to do something with the continuous fiberglass roving which was gathering dust in my studio. Although I don’t feel like I fit here (the US) or there (Czech Republic), I never really considered my identity as immigrant or my Czechness, not until after the Prague trip. Perhaps it was not my identity as female in this society that pushed me into working through identity in the studio. Perhaps it is my unresolved status as immigrant, residing somewhere outside of both cultures, that feeds my pursuit with a somewhat removed sense, more like a social scientific study of identity. Perhaps it is a need to reconcile the old world (symbolized by the crochet tradition) with the new world (modern industrial material of fiberglass and toxic polyester resin used in monumental scale).

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On Lace, Identity, and Pattern

Another important issue from that first trip back to Prague. Besides all the lace for sale in the tourist areas, I was struck by the amount of lace in people’s homes. Lace curtains, lace runners, interior door glass with lacelike patterns, plastic lacelike runners on their furniture and around flower pots. I noticed also that all the grandmas had something of a uniform. Always four garments, slacks or long skirt, blouse, vest, and a scarf. Of the four, three were in pattern, one in a solid. The three patterns did not match, they should have clashed but they didn’t. They worked, harmoniously. Pattern everywhere, lace everywhere.

This affected my studio immediately. The pattern awareness from Prague pushed my identity focus from the individual, out of the body, to pattern inside, pattern outside, nature vs. nurture, DNA, internal coding or pattern, social patterns, social structures, external social influencers. The work began to focus on individuals within a group, as affected by association with a specific group. How does the individual form change within the dynamic of a specific group. Identity through relationships, structures, and patterns rather than a single body.

Realizing that I come from a country with such a deep lace tradition, I somehow felt that I had permission to exploit the crochet process more deeply. And I think also, that simply being overwhelmed by pattern, I for the first time acknowledged that I was working with pattern and felt the need to learn more than the basics. As soon as I got home, I bought a book that catalogues traditional crochet patterns. The book is a constant tool that I study and use for every single new work, still.

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Important mid-stream realization

As I familiarized myself with the then new reference tool, I realized that up to that point, I had not used the fullness of the material language of crocheted fiberglass. I realized that the “language of crocheted fiberglass” is not only found in the physical aspects of the final materials, the way the raw materials interact in the process of making, or the choices of material manipulation within the material process. I realized that half of this material language must come from the tradition of crochet. Crochet tradition has specific forms and patterns. The doily form which is round, or square, or really any geometric form; an allover pattern cloth which traditionally becomes a square or rectangular cloth; edging patterns; and hundreds of documented stitch patterns or recipes of different ways to make knots to create cloth.

When, in 1992, I started force feeding the work heavy handed narrative in order to find objects that resonated specificity, or soul, to get away from generic forms that read as nothing more than generic organic, I pushed far away from what I discovered at the end of BFA. That I love the highly abstract, the minimal, the geometric. The language of the crochet brought me back slowly to simple geometry.

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The issue of women’s work

The historical and conceptual baggage of crochet speaks directly in parallel analogies to the historical and conceptual baggage of identity construction. I used this phrase in an old statement. Brief thoughts of explanation.

If I crochet a 7 foot doily or install a large mass of lace onto a wall, it will travel with an instant association with domesticity, women’s work, female gender, and craft. None of these associations were ever an intended or intentional part of any of the crocheted pieces. One can easily claim that I used the material irresponsibly because these stereotypical tags, or baggage, were never part of my thought process. I appropriated “domestic craft” and toxic, nasty industrial material (used normally on boats, cars, and surfboards) as tools to create my own sculpture material. If crocheting is “women’s work”, I can tell you that working on monumental scale with fiberglass and resin is not. Crochet and my female identity both come with a lot of baggage. Society insists on imposing limiting stereotypes over both crochet and female identity whether or not they fit that specific individual or object. Perhaps this feeds my obsession with specificity and individuation.

By crocheting my material, I, according to some, lost my status as sculptor, as artist. For the works that included a wooden construction to display the crochet, I was asked who made the wooden structures for me, not if I made them, but who made them. No one ever asked who made my sculpture for me when I was welding. An early small piece featured a crocheted fiberglass panel stretched over a heavy frame which pushed away from the wall. It needed to hang on a plaster wall that turned out to be not so flat, it had a significant ripple. The gallery assistant told me that I should cut-off the legs because they did not need to be there. I can tell you that no matter how bad my work was in the past, not until I crocheted did anyone offer to butcher it. This only fueled my rebellion and I became even more determined to push the work to a higher place. Don’t know what that is or what that will look like but this determination is definitely on my mind as I prepare for each new studio run. To make the audience move beyond limiting stereotypes of craft and women’s work and connect with the universal truths about all of us inherent in these crocheted fiberglass forms.

What I began to realize the more I utilized the fullness of the crochet is that the process of crochet and the construction of identity both involve human history, traditions, groups, constructs, patterns, memory, and layering and passing of time. All cultures seem to have their own lace tradition. If identity is a hybrid of our heritage, then lace is, as tradition of time, labor, and creativity, one tiny point of intersection that connects us all. Crocheted fiberglass is a universal unifier, it speaks to all about aspects of humanness not just to women and domesticity.

I never attached a feminist or women’s work agenda to the crochet. I tripped across an idea at the grocery store which seemed to conceptually and materially support my studio exploration, I thought it was cool, and I wanted to see what I could do with it. The more I worked with the crocheted fiberglass, the more I realized that the material and process (process which cannot be separated from the material) itself speaks to identity in the larger sense, it speaks to humanness. I get asked sometimes if I considered crocheting this or crocheting that. I create my own fiberglass cloth by crocheting it because it is more relevant, more specific to my agenda than prefab fiberglass mat or cloth. My work is as much about the fiberglass as it is about the crochet.

My sculptures land in the “women’s work” category often. And it is understandable that as one is confronted with a wall sized chunk of crochet that this would be the first place one would go. I often wonder: is it that traditionally grandma crocheted or is it the arduous hand labor association that makes it women’s work, domestic craft. My sculptural process is highly labor intensive. Crocheting a wall sized cloth takes forever, the resin application is not fun, sanding down the hardened crochet takes forever and is definitely not fun.

Long hours of hand labor. Counting time in each stitch and motion. Using my hands to create, working with my hands. Fusing crochet with its feminine association and industrial fiberglass with its masculine association. All these characteristics symbolize species human, our history, our evolution, who we are as human, life as human. More than once, as I was deep in the process of investing 500 hours of labor with my bare hands into one sculpture, I thought of reading Kafka’s The Castle. At times I feel my process of making to be Kafkaesque. Often I feel my investigation into identity and presenting crocheted fiberglass works to the public to be Kafkaesque. As I believe that life, for each of us, has Kafkaesque moments.

If my fascination is with identity, then perhaps crocheting fiberglass, with all its baggage, is a good place for me to swim.

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Inherent humanness within the material and process

The material and process itself speak to human identity. A body of crochet resonates culture, society, history, tradition, labor, time. Depending on the form itself, the thousands of knots that make the translucent cloth can be read as cells or as population. The translucency of the material and that it projects whispers of color and shadows onto the supporting wall speak to identity and character. The projections and shadows can be equated to behavior or soul.  

Identity within the material process.

An inherent identity crisis exists in these hybrid bodies. Are they fiber art, sculpture, painting wannabes? Also, is the true self the translucent object or the shadow it projects. Is the purpose of that object, its final destination, the truth of its identity, the etched shadow? Or is it the thing itself and the shadow simply residue or byproduct. This work does not cleanly fit into one existing formal or art historical category. It seems to exist on the sidelines of several. It’s a hybrid, fighting to establish its own identity, its own category and space within the world of art and art history.

Generally, our world cannot exist without dichotomies. Black cannot exist without white. Beauty/ugliness; hardness/softness; male/female. I am female but not without male, not only genetically but also psychologically. On the simplest level, my father nor my husband cannot be castrated from that thing that is me. Dichotomies are inherent in any identity or relationship. Dichotomies are an intrinsic part of crocheted fiberglass. It combines old world techniques with a new world material; perceived domestic act articulated in industrial toxic stuff. The lace bodies are inherently organic and soft in form, they look fragile but are actually hard, rigid, and nearly indestructible.

An important material process note.

The cloth that I create by crocheting fiberglass roving does not stretch when still dry. Immediately after I apply the resin and the cloth is completely soaked and wet, it stretches, gravity and the weight of the liquid pulls it down, it clings to itself. It is not the fiber itself that stretches, rather all the knots that create the cloth stretching open. So that if I crochet, let’s say 23 panels, sew them all together into one continues cloth to make some sort of a logical group, if I resin soak a panel surrounded by dry members, the resultant form is quite different than if I soak a panels next to another still wet panels, or panels that were resined and have hardened already. The nature of my material, the circumstances I set up, and decisions I make during the resin application process, affect how each individual panel is transformed by its neighbor. In effect, how do the members of a given group affect the character of each individual of that group. This period of questioning produced works like Conformity, Sheepfold, Unfeigned, and Misconception.

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Why “the narrative”

Do I care if audience reads a specific story? Nope. The narrative is not the main agenda. It is simply a tool. The narrative exists to set limits to clarify specificity. It is simply means to an end. A means by which to force specificity in order to create a minimal abstract yet readable and non-generic form. I don’t care about the message, I care about the final form. I need limits to force specificity. Narrative focuses choices to a hopefully non-predictable, non-generic, minimal abstract form.

What is important is that the forms are readable, that the audience connects on some level through shared past experience. Specificity needs to make the form in order for audience to connect to it, to read it in some way.

Abstracting narratives of identity. What does that mean? What does that mean in my studio? What does that look like? What degree of abstraction to literal representation should it have? What do I want to say? These persistent large questions were tools to move the work to a greater place of clarity as objects but also ended up slowly and honestly helping the work find its way to that clean and comfortable place, the purity of an object reduced to a minimal yet meaningful expression.

The work is as much about process as it is about identity. Process of making, process of questioning, process of abstracting. Identity issues are a tool within the process of finding a new form. A minimal, geometric expression that resonates aspects of humanness as a tool of connecting somehow with a varied audience, a way to connect with the audience through the gut. An object trying to define its own identity, trying to find its place in a time when boundaries that define “what is art” are continuously wiped, smudged, expanded, or thrown out completely. My work is fighting to find its place within an art world where the boundaries that define art have been smudged, distorted, or wiped out completely.

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Brief definitions of the numbers and number sequences that I use:

Pi by definition is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Pi is an infinite decimal, it has infinitely many numbers to the right of the decimal point. These numbers never repeat in a pattern. Pi is irrational meaning it cannot be written as a fraction. The first few digits of pi are 3.1415926535897....

e is a real number constant that appears in certain kinds of mathematics problems. Examples of such problems are those involving growth or decay, the statistical “bell curve”, the shape of a hanging cable, some problems of probability, some counting problems, the study of the distribution of prime numbers, and often shows up in calculus. Its value is approximately 2.718281828459045… and has been calculated to 869,894,101 decimal places. e is also the base of natural logarithms.

e and pi are transcendental numbers. Transcendental number is not expressible as an integer or as the root or quotient of integers.

In the Fibonacci Sequence 0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,…., each term is the sum of the two previous terms, for instance, 2+3=5, 3+5=8,….. As you go farther and farther to the right in this sequence, the ration of a term to the one before it will get closer and closer to the Golden Ratio. The Golden ratio is a special number approximately equal to 1.6180339887498948482. Like pi, the digits of the Golden ration go on forever without repeating

A prime number is a positive integer that can only be divided by 1 and itself. Prime numbers stand out from a sea of other numbers as they are the multiplicative root of all other numbers. They are the beginning, yet there are an infinite number of them, they cannot be contained. Often, nature grows in primes.

Pascal’s Triangle is a big triangle of numbers. The two major areas where Pascal’s Triangle is used are Algebra, and Probability where it can be used to find combinations. Triangular numbers and the Fibonacci numbers can also be found in Pascal’s triangle.

1   1
1   2   1
1   3   3   1
1   4   6   4   1
1  5  10  10  5  1

Start out with the top two rows as 1, and 1 1. To construct the next line down, look at the two entries above it, the one above it and to the right and the one above it and to the left, and then place 1 at the far right and 1 at the far left. For example, if constructing the line below ( 1 3 3 1 ), ( 1+3=4, 3+3=6, 3+1=4 ), add the 1 at each end and you have ( 1 4 6 4 1 ).

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Math in my work:

If tripe is responsible for the crochet in my work, then my husband Tim is responsible for the math in my work. Tim is a math nerd. He has earned multiple university degrees, among which is a BA in mathematics; a PhD in Physical Chemistry, specifically theoretical Quantum Mechanics, he wrote over a 100 pages on how to excite a molecule; and most recently MBA which has led him to his current obsession, pricing strategies. All heavy in math. Tim does math for fun.

Since my MFA, most of my work has been too large to ship. Most of the time, I have to rent a moving truck, which Tim always drives. On long stretches of highway, Tim latches on to the ID number of some random semi in front of us and, in his head, will pull out square roots and prime numbers. Through the road trip conversations, Tim’s love and excitement over numbers infected me.

Over the years, I developed a dependency and obsession with prime numbers. A number divisible only by 1 and itself. Prime numbers stand out from a sea of numbers. They are generator numbers, the root of all other numbers. They are the beginning, yet there is an infinite number of them, they cannot be contained. Throughout history, the search for knowledge includes a long search to find a pattern to generate prime numbers, which is ultimately impossible. Often, nature grows in primes. Examine random flowers and plants and you may find clusters of 3s, 5s, 7s, perhaps 11s. I love these attributes in terms of identity and uniqueness, in terms of wholeness and the construction of a whole. In my work, where ever possible, I push the number of rows, columns, or components to the nearest prime number which, for me, provides a visual balance and aesthetic correctness that would be lost without these choices.

That first trip back to Prague exploded my work on several levels. The first piece, a large scale, pattern oriented work, came from a concept of evolution. I was looking for a way to build a spiral that came from nature. Tim gave me the Fibonacci sequence which builds the familiar spiral shape of a nautilus shell. This was in 1999.

In 2001, I needed a way to generate a random pattern. Tim suggested that I use a section from the number pi. “Transcendental Number as Personal Chronogram (Pi)” used the first few digits of pi to pulse spaces between over 80 small doily forms attached to the wall on wooden supports of varied depths over a graphite grid. This was also my first grid work. Since then, I have used different sections of pi to generate a pattern or color distribution. As with my experience in utilizing prime numbers to help define the physical parameters of each new form, whenever I structure a work according to pi, pi consistently helps to create a visual balance and aesthetic correctness that just works.

My work often engages math, an underlying principle in all of life, as a structural foundation. Because math is found in nature, math always creates a more natural form. Math is beautiful; it is inseparable from nature, from us, from life. The search for these numbers (pi, e, primes,…) went on for thousands of years; numbers represent the search for human knowledge.

Math first entered my studio as a tool to find form and create a formal foundation. I now find it inseparable from any dialogue dealing with the nature of being human, of individual and collective identity. The digits in transcendental numbers never repeat; similarly, an individual’s identity can never be repeated. Even if you clone a person, their individual experiences will still make them unique. Any segregated section taken from a transcendental number is unique and individually beautiful, yet the number’s true meaning requires the collection of all the digits which never end, so the true meaning is infinitely unknown.

Although I have always been drawn to works based on a grid, the forms and concepts that drove my work up till now did not present an opportunity to explore the grid. The same gut need that pushes me toward the minimal abstract geometric, pushes me towards the grid. The body of work that is Alfedena’s Digits exhibition is the first that depends on, or rather, creates this structural foundation.

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DIGITS Exhibition: The beginning of the math driven work

The seminal motivation, a brief progression of thoughts that led to the Digits group:

1) The last work I created before I began this group was “Manufactured Status” which involved two rows of torso sized flat panels, assembled on the wall in a folded book form, and utilized pi for color and pattern distribution. In this work, I for the first time, created small sized panels which were individually finished, which included the final surface sanding, and then sewn together with the fiberglass to create larger sections. This small step signifies evolution in the material process.

2) I was excited about this new process step and that a pi sequence basically created the work which also was based on a grid. The scale and complexity of this work was limited by the need to box it up and ship it overseas. I wanted more. The size of the walls in Alfedena Gallery’s front space fed that hunger. I see a big wall, and like child, I want to fill it. Also, I take opportunity where I can to include site-specific architectural challenges into the defined vocabulary that finds each new work. In this case, the uniqueness of the wall dimension of the front and top galleries.

3) I was thinking about: identity codes, internal patterns that code the individual, DNA, external codes, population, individuals and masses.

4) The scale of the walls awoke a vivid awareness of scale. I wanted the work to read perhaps as a section of something microscopic blown up; or a small section that belongs to a much larger one.

5) I wanted to use a pi sequence large enough that a pattern would be revealed, a pattern that read as some sort of code, a blueprint that described something specific. Even if it was not clear what that thing was, I wanted the pattern to resonate a purpose.

As I rummaged through my source pile to find my print out of the first five pages of the infinite digits of pi, I also found a print out of e, and a sloppy pencil scratch, in Tim’s hand, of Pascal’s triangle. Tim must have turned me on to e and Pascal’s triangle some years back as I began my worship of pi, but as with the grid, I never felt an appropriate opportunity to use them, until now. With the three number sequences in hand, I knew that all works would be built directly by the number. A straight forward, direct interpretation of each digit.

Through the systems used in this new work, the grids, geometric order, seriality, repetition, visual articulation of mathematics, I feel a connection to the works of Sol LeWitt and Eva Hesse whose works I have always been inspired by.

My first doodles of Pascal’s triangle on graph paper revealed an architectural form that I found irresistibly beautiful, almost sexy. And it curiously fit the proportions and feeling (the expanse) of the low, wide walls in the top gallery. The triangle form was reminiscent of a bridge, an architecture I equate with building of civilizations and society. When I coupled two of the bridge forms in a mirror relationship, I saw a small section of a strand whose form could speak to an internal architecture or code of some sort of organic entity, a microscopic code enlarged.

Each of the two Pascal’s Triangle pieces in the show, “Identity Sequence Pascal’s Triangle Red” and “Identity Sequence Pascal’s Triangle Green”, are made from two mirrored triangles, each triangle translates the first six rows of numbers. Each work was pushed in a different direction, during the various stages of the material process, where individual specificity was built by a multitude of tiny decisions throughout, while considering the above conceptual associations.

A large grid made from very small components is how I visualized the articulation of the two sequences, e and pi. The individual parts that create these large works are the smallest units that I have made so far. I created a system. I defined a specific method for directly articulating the digits; I defined colors and a sequence for the colors; chose a number sequence; and followed the plan to create the work.

“Identity Sequence e 4” is constructed from 323 units, in 17 rows by 19 columns. (17 and 19 are primes) I saw this as a section of a microscopic organic blueprint, enlarged. The light flesh toned units spell out each digit while the strong colored units (the orange, brown, red-violet, and blue) serve as the space between each digit. The tendency towards an internal organic code influenced the crochet stitch chosen. Human DNA sequences four types of molecules, this is why four colors are rotated.

As I made decisions about the individual units for each grid, while considering dimensions, crochet pattern, and the type of form, I also kept in mind the negative spaces and shadows that these decisions would create. Cast shadow and negative space become a component.

From “Identity Sequence e Black” I wanted a small section that seems to be cut away from a much larger one. Grid is constructed from 49 units in 7 rows by 7 columns. (7 is a prime) Here the digits are articulated by two systems. Tonal gradation of the black where the darkest color value represents the 9 digit and no color represents 0. And the distance each unit pushes away from the wall, where units representing the 9 digit push 32” away from the wall and the 0s barely pooch up.

Seminal process decisions made for “Identity Sequence RW pi” began to create, early on, a more architectural form which later influenced the method by which the individual panels were joined to create the larger sections. This grid is constructed from 429 panels in 11 rows and 19 columns. (11 and 19 are primes) This articulation is a little more complex. Of the two sizes of panels, the 5”x 7” units are perpendicular to the wall and the 5”x 5” units are installed parallel to the wall, joining the perpendicular columns together. The two colors, red and white, are alternated to articulate digits, for example ( 3 red, 1 white, 4 red, 1 white, 5 red, …,) Also, the 5”x 5” panels shift placement from 5” away from the wall to approximately 1” from the wall, position also alternating ( 3 pushed outward, 1 in, 4 out, 1 in, 5 out, and so on).

Also, going back to how the material process parallels identity construction, I crocheted all the units in each specific large group to be the same. Each single unit used the same stitch and the same number of stitches to produce a mass of individuals who began exactly the same but by enduring the steps within this material process, the cookie cutter units took baby steps towards individuation. There are many opportunities within each process step to lose control of the form and distort each unit in its own unique way. Upon first look, the hundreds of units that assemble to create the one body seem the same, but in actuality, no two units are.

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© Yvette Kaiser Smith 2004