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Botanica Mathematica goes back to its roots!

Knitted wall hanging of D'Arcy Thompson
Exciting news! The Botanica Mathematica project is heading to Dundee for the whole of June as part of the centenary celebrations of D'Arcy Thompson's On Growth and Form. The newly classified collection of Binary Bonsai be on display in the most appropriate setting imaginable.

Thompson wrote On Growth and Form in 1917, inspiring the field of mathematical biology and a host of artists later in the 20th century.  His collection of zoological specimens in housed in the University of Dundee along side a permanent collection of related artwork.

Julia Collins and I started working on Botanica Mathematica in 2013 with Thompson's ideas in mind.  We wanted to explore simple, mathematical rules that would generate botanical forms using textile craft processes. We came up with a few ideas, some based on the way early computer graphics simulated plant growth. Binary Bonsai, L-system Fibonacci Flowers, Hyperbolic Kelp and Chanterelles were the result. All of these can be knitted or crocheted and so we decided to release the patterns into the wild. The patterns can be seen as an analogue of the genetic code and we waited to see what would evolve as makers around the world interpreted the patterns.  The Binary Bonsai flourished and we now have around 80 specimens which have been classified (with the aid of Jo Macrae from the National Museum of Scotland) and named down to the sub-species level.  These will form the major part of the exhibition. The knitted portrait of D'Arcy Thompson may also be on show if space permits.

Fibonacci auriana complete
with classification label
The museum is open to the public from 2pm to 4.30pm Fridays only or by appointment. If you are in Dundee on a Friday afternoon in June, please drop in to the D'Arcy Thompson Museum in the Carnelley Building of University of Dundee.  I'll be there on 2nd and 30th of June to answer any questions.

We will also be running a workshop in the museum on Sunday 18th June in association with the local yarn store, Fluph.  More details on that will be announced on the Botanica Mathematica site fairly soon.


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