A Year in Chains: Not a Piece of π / by Simone Brewster

"Mathematics is the music of reason. "
JAMES JOSEPH SYLVESTER

It was always going to be an ambitious task for me to undertake the first few weeks of a Year in Chains during July and August. These weeks past I have been in the deep end of teaching. So far deep that I began to reflect upon how long I have been teaching and how it's impacted my life so far. My first job wasn't as a shop assistant or on a newspaper round, it was actually as a maths tutor.

My father had made sure that all of his children were keen mathematicians, regardless of how keen we really were! At a young age we were introduced to the subject and we were tasked with wrapping our heads around simultaneous equations, trigonometry, integration, by which I don't mean the delicate art of fitting in.

A 21st century torture device

A 21st century torture device

The most acute symbol of this element of my childhood was the "gift" of a maths book from my grandmother, which contained torturous questions and beautifully drawn diagrams, composed of elegant curved parabolic lines, circles, rhombuses, kites... 

In tackling these demons I would require a key ingredient; the handy ruler and protractor set. 

Simone Brewster Rulers

These sets are a classic. Not only did everyone have them, but they were the central tools in helping me visualise the myriad of problems I was tasked with overcoming. They were also so basic in their form; triangle, rectangle, semi circle, each working together or resting together in its case. 

This trip down memory lane left me wanting to play with these simple stacking shapes and forms to see how their interaction could be built into something both complex and beautiful.
Is it possible to play with a set range of geometric shapes and use them to construct the beginnings of a piece of adornment?

Simone Brewster A year in chains maths
Simone Brewster A Year in Chains maths 2
Simone Brewster A Year in Chains maths 3
Simone Brewster A Year in Chains 4
Simone Brewster Composition for strength 1
Simone Brewster composition 2
Simone Brewster composition 3
Simone Brewster composition 4

These compositions are really just the beginning of scratching an itch. These itches are of course ideas that niggle at me until I find a way to bring them to light. 
Needless to say they are not necklaces, at least not yet. What they are will become apparent as I continue to play and formulate the ideas that are coming up. 
What is very clear however, is that this project is not going to be a piece of pi.