2017 Event Series


Slow Fiber Studios’ 2017 event series Algorithmic Aesthetic is inspired by the themes of the exhibition Reverberating Echoes: Contemporary Art inspired by Traditional Islamic Art, organized by the Center for the Arts and Religion (CARe). Curated by Islamic Art scholar Carol Bier and displayed in the Doug Adams Gallery at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, the exhibition features seven contemporary American artists of diverse cultural and artistic backgrounds whose works draw upon the rich visual heritage of traditional Islamic art.

The Reverberating Echoes exhibition posits that rather than Eurocentric assumptions of decorative ornament, when examined in cultural context a defining feature of traditional Islamic art is an “algorithmic aesthetic” of pattern. Algorithmic Aesthetic will explore relationships between art, music, mathematics, and language by following threads of Islamic cultural heritage, weaving between the ancient and the contemporary, tradition and innovation. Through conversations, lectures, workshops, and demonstrations, the series will investigate a range of topics including fine art, systems, music, architecture, calligraphy, and mathematics.

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Hira-Ori: Shadowfolds for Shibori Techniques
Chris K. Palmer | April 22-23, 2017 | 9am – 4pm
Slow Fiber Studios Annex | 1825 Eighth St, Berkeley, CA 94710
$35 Materials Fee | Materials List


Photo courtesy of Chris K. Palmer

Berkeley-based artist Chris K. Palmer will introduce his Shadowfolds technique and patterns in this folding and dyeing workshop. Using simple twist folds layered with arashi-shibori, we will explore the twisting grain of pleats as the folds produce novel polygonal regions of rotated stripes. Natural indigo dyeing will be organized by Yoshiko.

Chris K. Palmer is an internationally recognized origamist and fine artist whose work combines traditional knowledge and craft with contemporary technologies. He has traveled the world studying geometry and pattern from various artistic and cultural traditions – in Japan under master origamists, and at the Alhambra palace in Spain. He currently manages the Digital Fabrication Lab in the College of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley.


An Algorithmic Aesthetic of Pattern: Examining Traditional Islamic Textiles
Carol Bier | May 27, 2017 | 11am – 2pm
Slow Fiber Studios Office | 696 Hilldale Ave, Berkeley, CA 94708


Photo courtesy of Carol Bier

Local Islamic art and textile scholar Carol Bier’s illustrated lecture will explore the origins of an algorithmic aesthetic that permeated arts throughout the Islamic world in the 9th-12th centuries. Participants will have an opportunity to examine and handle a variety of Islamic textiles in addition to works in other media, and to consider processes of pattern-making based on design algorithms. Regional, cultural, and religious specificities will also be discussed.

Carol’s presentation will be followed by a potluck social open to the public.

Presentation (registration required) 11am – 12:30pm
Potluck Social (open to the public) 12:30pm – 2pm

Carol Bier is curator of the exhibition Reverberating Echoes: Contemporary Art inspired by Traditional Islamic Art, on view through May 26 at the Center for the Arts & Religion at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, as well as Visiting Scholar at its Center for Islamic Studies. She is Research Associate at The Textile Museum in Washington, D.C., where she also served as Curator for Eastern Hemisphere Collections. She has authored numerous articles on patterns as intersections of art and mathematics.


Visiting Artist: Mamoun Sakkal


Mamoun Sakkal is an internationally recognized type designer, typographer, and graphic designer based in Bothell, WA. He holds a Ph.D in history of Islamic calligraphy from the University of Washington. His Master of Architecture, also at the University of Washington, addressed the vaulting system of maqarnas – an 11th century Islamic architectural form. Among running his own design studio, Sakkal is the Arabic typography specialist at Microsoft.

Source: Exhibition Catalog, Reverberating Echoes: Contemporary Art Inspired By Traditional Islamic Art


Subject: Arabic typography
Mamoun Sakkal | June 30 – July 1, 2017
Event details TBA

Visiting Scholar: Jay Kappraff

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Jay Kappraff is a professor of mathematics at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He is recognized for interfacing the practices of mathematics, science, art, and design. He is the author of numerous books including A Participatory Approach to Modern Geometry (2014), Beyond Measure (2002), and Connections (1990).


Subject: W. K. Chorbachi
Jay Kappraff | July 2, 2017
Event details TBA

Visiting Artist: Phil Webster


Phil Webster is a Santa Cruz-based artist trained in mathematics and cognitive science at MIT. His work, often employing contemporary technologies such as 3D-printing, laser-cutting, and dye sublimation, addresses the intersection of mathematical form and pattern with ancient design tradition.

Source: Exhibition Catalog, Reverberating Echoes: Contemporary Art Inspired By Traditional Islamic Art


Subject: Fractal Islamic patterns, and printing & laser cutting as artistic tools
Phil Webster | September 3, 2017
Event details TBA




Algorithmic Aesthetic Opening Social
Carol Bier + Chris K. Palmer | April 2, 2017 | 1pm – 4pm
Slow Fiber Studios Annex | 1825 Eighth St, Berkeley, CA 94710

Shadowfolds by Chris K. Palmer


Reverberating Echoes: Contemporary Art Inspired by Traditional Islamic Art
January 31 – May 26, 2017 | Tuesday, Thursday, Friday | 10am – 3pm

Doug Adams Gallery
2465 Le Conte Ave
Berkeley, CA 94709

Reverberating Echoes Exhibition Catalog

Biographies referenced from Reverberating Echoes: Contemporary Art Inspired by Traditional Islamic Art Exhibition Catalog by Carol Bier