This photo shows a grid of
the first 10,000-plus digits of pi.
It was used to map out
a John Sims quilt. The numbers in the left and right columns represent pi's digits expressed in base 2 and base 3. 
Below is the pi quilt "Seeing Pi" made for Sims, that is
an artistic expression of the
number grid.  
 A limited edition of signed, numbered "mini"
pi quilts, like the one shown
below, are available for sale
in the shop.


Stitching on the Sims' quilt "My AFrican Roots," constructed from batiks made in Ghana.

      The Rhythm of Structure lives on in film.  John Sims was clever enough to film the process of curating the show, along with poets and dancers who gave interpretative responses to the art displayed in the exhibition.  The movie Rhythm of Structure documents and traces the exhibition from the Bowery Poetry Club in NYC to the Ringling College of Art in Sarasota to Antioch College in Ohio.  The film was shown at the local movie theater in Antioch on Saturday, November 5.  John's movie was accepted into the Sarasota Film Festival and is showing at the Hollywood 20 theater.  The last showing is scheduled for Sunday, April 22.         
     The Alma Sue's-related pieces are called "Seeing Pi" by John Sims (the center block) and "(Gee's Bend+Amish)/2" by Ella Miller Toy (the quilt at the left middle).       
     A catalog containing the art and poets' responses is available and will travel with the exhibit to future venues.    
               The "(Gee's Bend+Amish)/2" block is a traditional "Amish Bars" pattern constructed with Gee's Bend fabric.  The bars are separated with a thin red piping. 
     At the closing program in Sarasota and Yellow Springs, Ella spoke to the audience about the piece.  The people of Gee's Bend and the Amish are similar in that both are small groups of tight-knit families, tied to the soil.  They live in rural areas isolated from the mainstream and thus encounter misunderstanding and discrimination.  
     Their quilts generally are simple in construction, of graphic colors, using whatever materials are on hand, and they are made for utility purposes for warmth as bed covers.  
     The bars in the original Amish quilts from the 1800's are thought to represent the furrows in a plowed field.  Ella extended this interpretation to one more meaningful today, describing the bars as barriers blocking the way, obstructing departure as in prison bars, hindering entrance as in social clubs, barring success as in illiteracy, and the bar of public opinion judging for and against.  The following description of the thin lines separating the bars was written by Ella and shared with the audience.


   There is beauty in the unknown.
   At Alma Sue's Quilts, we never know what unique quilting request will be made by the next customer. We have no idea what sort of exotic fabric someone might bring us tomorrow. We take a creative journey toward an unknown end every time we accept an idea and some unused pieces of cloth.
   And we love it!
   Our collaboration with John Sims is a great example of how these journeys go.
   Sims is a nationally known artist. He walked into our shop about six years ago with an idea and some African cloth. A quilt made at Alma Sue's Quilts for Sims is currently on display in the Lehman College Art Gallery in New York City as part of the "New York Fiber in the 21st Century" exhibit.
   Sims once taught math at Ringling College. He eventually began to nurture an interest in melding math, art, and social and political dynamics.
   One of Sims' early art projects was called "Square Roots: A Quilted Manifesto." He collected swatches of cloth during a trip to Ghana. In 2005, he brought some of his African fabric with him during a visit to Alma Sue's Quilts.
   He wanted to make a quilt. Ella and the staff at Alma Sue's Quilts were fascinated by the fabric. A quiltmaking-for-fabric deal was struck, and it turned out to be the start of a collaboration that has lasted for six years and produced a body of work including 13 quilts, each 8 feet square.  The work is based on Sims' portrayal of math concepts and includes self portraits along with fabric expressions of John's roots.  Sims' work is multi-faceted. More information is available at his Web site.
   Some of his efforts have focused on quilted expressions of the mathematical constant pi.
   In straightforward math terms, pi is the ratio of any circle's circumference to its diameter. Regardless of a circle's size, the ratio always comes out to a number that cannot be precisely calculated -- specifically, a number that starts with "3.14159265" and stretches on with an infinite number of decimal places.
   Alma Sue's shop made "pi quilts" for Sims that used colors to represent decimal places. For instance, the quilt named "Seeing Pi" has 1,296 fabric pieces, each two inches square. Each digit has its own color. "1" became black, "2" became green, "3" became light blue, and so on.
   Using a diagram plotted by Sims, the quilters started with a square in the very middle and, digit by digit and square by square, stitched until they had 1,296 squares put together.
   "The idea," said Ella, "is to show the beauty of the randomized math sequence. Sims' diagram starts in the middle and in concentric circles works out to the edges."
   Alma Sue's Quilts has miniature versions of pi quilts for sale in a limited edition.
The quilt in the photo is a digitized version of Sims' portrait, converted into a quilt by constructing 2 inch squares of black and white fabric.