Enter the (Paper) Matrix

Craft & Design Education Paper Crafts
Enter the (Paper) Matrix

For the Museum of Mathematics

Math Mondays is back from summer vacation with a brief break from all of the goodies discovered at the Bridges conference (more later) to highlight another must-visit site in the world of making with a mathematical bent.  Today’s shout-out goes to PaperMatrix, an incredible compendium of all things made by weaving paper. In the mix are spheres and ellipsoids and polyhedra galore. For example, as of this writing, the latest project on PaperMatrix is a woven rhombic triacontahedron:


And it all seemed to start way back when with woven heart baskets, which are topologically interesting because they can counterintuitively be woven from two pieces that have slits cut in them, but which each remain connected as a single piece of paper:


The directions on PaperMatrix are easy to follow as well; here is a rhombic dodecahedron that I whipped up in about twenty minutes, using the information on the site:


And since the structures are hollow, there’s all sorts of things you might sneak inside — you could have a sort of Russian Doll polyhedron, filled with smaller and smaller polyhedra, or here’s what the rhombic dodecahedron looks like with a blue floral decorator’s LED inside:


Check it out and enjoy — if PaperMatrix inspires you to make or find other mathematically interesting woven creations, drop a note to mondays@momath.org.

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Executive Director, Museum of Mathematics

View more articles by Glen Whitney


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