Cherry Arbor Design


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Meet the Artist

  • About This Artist

    At Cherry Arbor Design, we create pieces that integrate math and art. We focus on the user experience, drawing people in to actively engage, create, and think about the mathematical ideas underlying our work. We combine our career experiences in math, computer science, teaching, and statistics with the study of art and design of interactive forms.

    In our Ann Arbor workshop, we explore our ideas, develop prototypes, and create finished work using an array of materials, including wood, felt, paper, acrylic, Tyvek, and paint. Math and art can be social activities, and we develop those ideas that inspire conversation and the potential for collaboration.

  • Q&A With This Artist

    A: We design, create and make finished projects in our Ann Arbor workshop. All pieces are designed and made by the two of us- Heidi and Pete.

    A: Teaching computer science enabled Pete to explore a trove of interesting problems to solve. Processing was especially inspiring and we use its pdf library to algorithmically generate drawings. It was this, combined with a visit to Ann Arbor’s MakerWorks, that ultimately led to Cherry Arbor Design. We spend much of our time together making things in our workshop, taking classes at the local community college, and exploring new materials and ideas.

    A: We came to art/craft after a lifetime of work in other fields. Together we embarked on the study of art and design of interactive forms. Heidi has since earned a certificate in graphic design. We have been inspired to share our love for math with craft and we have been humbled by the support and kindness from fellow artists, the American Craft Council and our customers.

    A: Math is incredibly beautiful and we love sharing this amazing discipline with others. One of our favorite projects has been the exploration of knots. To artists and mathematicians, knots can be beautiful, interesting structures. Until recently, we hadn’t explored them much from either perspective. Then Heidi's mom gave us a copy of George Bain’s Celtic Art: The Methods of Construction. Bain shows how to create Celtic knots, from simple to elaborate. Mathematicians require that a knot be closed, which means it has no loose ends. Celtic art from the Middle Ages is reknowned for its intricate closed knots.These became the basis for our tiles. To give them more of a Celtic flavor, we added a rope motif to each tile.

    A: Many of our products are based on ideas we have serendipitously bumped into and found attractive. But we also hear from people who help us create a new product, or who pass along a great idea. The number of contributors has grown and we blog about it

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