Marilyn Rathbone

Marilyn Rathbone


Marilyn Rathbone’s work intrigues. Ideas evolve, one thing leading to another, to another … to create a strong, cohesive body of work, each piece resolved according to its own logic, each piece unique. The work is pared down, Marilyn’s aim to blend concept and content as simply as possible.

Self-Avoiding Walk

Self-Avoiding Walk is a playful response to the conundrum, “how to make an artwork without making decisions about composition, colour and line?” Pass those decisions on to others. With non-collaborative collaborators, ideas, not people, become the decision makers. Thank you: Rocchini and Life of Riley (Wikimedia Commons) for your mathematical diagram of a self-avoiding walk; Pi, for being our guide; and fashion designer, Julien Macdonald for enthusing about bugle beads, the final piece of the puzzle.

Materials: silk thread, brass rings, bugle beads, graphite rod, illusion cord | Dimensions: 50.5×52.0 cm

Pi in the Sky

Pi has been calculated to trillions of digits, memorised to thousands but how many do we really need? To calculate the circumference of the observable universe to within the width of an atom – just the first thirty-nine. Here they are, circled in the colours of the cosmic spectrum.

Materials: silk thread, brass rings, wooden battens | Dimensions: 27×84 cm

Bauhaus Braids

Kandinsky, Bauhaus artist/lecturer, saw colours as shapes. Numbers can be shapes, too. Colours, shapes and numbers combine in a set of three fine silk braids: triangular numbers (yellow, “sharp”, edgy); square numbers (red, “earthbound”, balanced); and circular numbers (blue, “spiritual”, the colour of the heavens).

Materials: silk thread, grey board | Dimensions: Reels: 8.0×7.5×1.7 (average size); Braids: 0.5×135 cm (average length)

100 Metres Dash

In 2011-12, Marilyn challenged herself to weave 100 metres of braid in the colours of the Olympic symbol. The marathon undertaking took a year and a day to complete. While creating the braid she kept notes, releasing regular bulletins and progress reports as though she really were an athlete in training. These were compiled into a 54 page book & DVD record of the event.

Materials: Como silk, wooden reel | Dimensions: Reel: 37×17.7 (dia.), Braid: 10,000×0.7×0.5 cm

SELF-AVOIDING WALK (full view) Pi’s numerical sequence leads the way along the walk, each digit represented by a specific colour.
SELF-AVOIDING WALK (close-up detail) walk starts here
 PI IN THE SKY (detail)
 PI IN THE SKY (close up detail)
EQUIVALENT IX – opening the box sequence

Worthing, England



Workshops: Yes
Talks: Yes
Commissions: Yes