Botanica Mathematica

a textile taxonomy of mathematical plant forms


Edinburgh Events Annouced!


This morning the Edinburgh International Science Festival launched their programme.

We really pleased to announce that Botanica Mathematica will be part of the Science at the HeART of Things art trail. It will take place from 5th to 20th April in Edinburgh’s Summerhall Art Centre which has been getting lots of media attention for its adventurous programmes of exhibitions and performances.

I’d like to take this opportunity to ask knitter or crocheter who reads this to contribute a Binary Bonsai or a Fibonacci Flower or a Hyperbolic Chanterelle to help put on a really great show. In particular we need more trees to have a good sample size for species classifications. We could hold a workshop (with free yarn from our sponsors, McAree Bros 🙂 ) one Saturday in March if it looks like people are interested. Email madeleineshepherd[at] (replacing [at] with @ – of course) if you’d like to come along and we’ll take it from there.

Botanica Mathematica will also be taking part in Botanics Late in the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh on 17 April. For this event we’ll be showcasing the results of our new collaboration with Naomi Nakayama from Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences, University of Edinburgh. Naomi is helping us make new designs based on lichens, mosses, liverworts and other lower plants indigenous to Scotland. We’ll have more to say about these in the near future.

There’s also a Mini Maker Faire on 20 April at Summerhall. We will both be around in one capacity or another. More on this as it gets finalised.

I hope you’ll all be able to contribute to/take part in/visit these and other events during the Festival this April. Please share your thoughts and photographs if you do.


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On Growth and Form in Nature

That’s the journal called Nature, actually.  There’s a nice piece on D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson’s great work on mathematical biology On Growth and Form in the current issue.

On Growth and Form was one of the texts I referred to when this project was taking shape.  There’s very little botany in the shorter, popular edition I have – mostly zoological examples – but it inspired me to look at the modern developments (of which I’ll say more in a later post).  Botanica Mathematica is the result of my thinking and making with this in mind.  If you want to know more about this maverick zoologist/classicist/mathematician here’ a good biography and a lovely picture of Thompson and his parrot at an ice cream shop in St Andrews!  you might also want to check out the art exhibitions in the University of Dundee .