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Extraordinary Macramé Feat Celebrates 150 Years of the Periodic Table

Published on: 25 Jan, 2019
Updated on: 25 Jan, 2019

The Macrame Periodic Table

By Anthony Parker

A century and a half after Dmitri Mendeleev devised the periodic table, Surrey graduate Jane Stewart has created her own homage with a macramé version.

Her periodic table took 350 hours and 200,000 knots and it will star at UNESCO’s International Year of the Periodic Table of the Elements then sent on a tour of universities and science festivals across the UK.

Jane was inspired by her father Nevin, a retired industrial chemist, after developing her hobby through the creation of increasingly intricate projects such as a set of Super Mario play-blocks for her nephew.

Jane Stewart and Professor Dulcie Mulholland

Professor Dulcie Mulholland, head of chemistry at Surrey university, said: “The periodic table is one of the most important foundation stones in modern science.

“It is fitting that the periodic table, which maps the fabric of all of the materials that surround us in the natural and human-made world, has been captured in this intricate series of knots. We’re honoured that Jane has allowed the creation to be unveiled at her own university, before heading off on its travels.”

Jane said: “Macramé gives a sense of achievement. You get ‘in flow’ while you’re working. Being creative keeps you busy and you can share the hobby with others, or work alone. It is very soothing, much like knitting.

“Individual knots don’t take much thought. I enjoy designing my own patterns to follow. I’m a scientist by training and the ordered craft form reminds me of lab experiments at university. Method repeat result.”

In February, the work will be displayed at the Northern Ireland Science Festival, followed by St Catharine’s College, Cambridge in March. In the summer, it will feature at York Festival of Ideas and at a Royal Society of Chemistry family day in Aberdeen.

In September, it will be exhibited at the University of Edinburgh (Nevin’s alma mater) and the University of Warwick. Jane also plans to take it into schools as part of her STEM ambassador role, promoting science to children.

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