Project Description

Gerofsky -Tadic

Wings Over Dry Land


Assoc. Professor, Mathematics Education and Ceramic Artist
University of British Columbia/ Nevena Tadic Ceramic Design Studio
Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Artists’ statement: A collaboration between two friends who like to explore playful dimensions of mathematical artwork. Susan Gerofsky loves to translate mathematical patterning across scales and artistic media, noticing affordances for embodied, imaginative mathematical understanding as things vary or remain invariant. Nevena Tadic brings humor and fine ceramic craftsmanship to the shapes and images of everyday life.

This original combinatoric poem is structured on the PH4 bellringing pattern [1], a 4-strand braid that produces 8 permutations (a subgroup of the 4! permutations on 4 elements). The poem is translated into handmade, wing-like ceramic tiles. We chose to make the tiles in the minimal shape that creates a classic 3-fold Islamic tiling from the Alhambra with an embedded 6-pointed star. The tiles started with a cut-out cardboard template drawn with compass and straightedge, traced with a knife in white clay cut from a slab, and fired in an electric kiln to cone 6. Each tile is painted with one word and a distinctive color design in an array that makes it possible to see the whole 9-line poem at a glance, tracing the diagonal braided pattern of each word by color. Each word has a distinctive orientation of the tile, giving a feeling of whimsical flight. The mobile invites contemplation of variation in this simple yet evocative 4-word poem.
[1] S. Gerofsky (2020). Two new combinatoric poetry forms. Proceedings of Bridges 2020

Dr. Susan Gerofsky is an Associate Professor of Mathematics Education and Environmental Education at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Her interdisciplinary research is in embodied, multisensory, multimodal mathematics education through the arts, movement, gesture and voice. She works in curriculum studies, environmental garden-based education, the language and genres of mathematics education, and media theory. Dr. Gerofsky is academic advisor and co-founder of the UBC Orchard Garden, a student-led campus learning garden. She is active as a poet, playwright, musician and filmmaker, and works with dance and fibre arts. You’ll often find her cycling around town with a baritone horn or an accordion.

She contributed to the award-winning book, Poetic Inquiry: Enchantment of Place (Vernon Press, 2017) and has a verse play published in The Mathematical Intelligencer.