TANGRAMS • About Barbara!

Tandora's Box Press

Vallejo, California

Website: www.tangrammit.com

Contact Me
Animated Cat
EBook now available!


     Barbara E. Ford has designed with tangrams for over twenty-five years. She creates tangram art with origami paper, stained glass (lamps and mobiles), fabric (quilts), needlework, beads and the computer. She has exhibited her artwork at the Atlanta Museum and San Francisco State University.

     Upon receiving a personal invitation from Jerry Slocum, renowned author and game collector, Ms. Ford became a member of the International Puzzle Party. Puzzle collectors from all over the world gather annually to exchange and collect puzzles and games.

     In 1990, Ms. Ford published her first book on tangrams. entitled, The Master Revealed - A Journey with Tangrams. In 1996, she collaborated with software designer, S.T. Han, to create tangram software, A Journey with Tangrams, a game for the education and design market. Her latest book, Tangrams - The Magnificent Seven Piece Puzzle, was self-published in 2003.

     She speaks at numerous quilt guilds and gives workshops at children's libraries. Ms. Ford resides in Vallejo, California with her husband James Daniels.


Welcome to James' part...

     First, I would like to start off with MY GIRL; her name is Barbara Evelyn Ford-Daniels.

     Once upon a time there was a guy named James who worked for the teamsters at San Francisco State University. He serviced the vending machines around the campus. In the year 1977, he became acquainted with a young lady named Barbara Evelyn Ford, a student at San Francisco State University. She worked a part-time job at the University and attended classes at the same time.

     We met at the vending machines in the Administration Building in the early mornings where she studied. We got acquainted and became friends. It was suggested to me since I worked there I should start taking classes. I started to take classes in Broadcasting and our relationship grew. It was at that time, with the help of Barbara, I was taught a better way to study which in turn brought my grades up to A's in all of my Broadcasting classes. I began to see Barbara's interest in origami paper and how she cut out tangram pieces and made different designs out of paper. I saw her with many books on tangrams. As our relationship progressed and I received the equivalent of an AA in Broadcasting, I immediately began earning money by way of DJ work. This was when DJ work was just breaking into the forefront. Quite a few of my friends out of Broadcasting worked on Evening Magazine and other Bay Area jobs.

     Over a period of time and time does fly, I learned a few more things about Barbara. She is a descendant of Sam Houston on her father's side. When I saw a picture of where she was raised up, it looked like she was related to President Ford. She comes from a family of nine children, six girls and three boys and they are all very smart. Barbara's grandfather, Lester R. Ford, Sr. was a mathematician as is her father, Lester Randolph Ford, Jr.

     The Lester R. Ford Awards, established in 1964, are made to authors of expository articles published in the American Mathematical Monthly. The awards are named for Lester R. Ford, Sr., a distinguished mathematician, editor of the American Mathematical Monthly, 1942-46, and President of the Mathematical Association of America, 1947-48, and Barbara's grandfather. As a matter of fact Barbara was applying for a job at San Francisco State in the Mathematics Department and in the interview, it was discovered that the Chairman, Sheldon Axler, had received the above award in 1996. The award is still active. NOTE: This web site is designed by Lester "Randy" Randolph Ford, III, Barbara's brother.

     In May 2004, Barbara's father, Lester R. Ford Jr. received recognition by Management Science for his manuscript, coauthored with Dr. Fulkerson (1958) entitled, "A Suggested Computation for Maximal Multi-Commodity Network Flows".


MANAGEMENT SCIENCE, Journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences is celebrating its 50th year of publication. To commemorate the occasion, the INFORMS membership was asked to select the "Ten Most Influential Papers" published during the journal's first half century. The following three step process was used:

1. Used the Web of Science to find all papers that had been cited 50 or more times as of October 2003. There were 474 such papers.

2. The Management Science editorial board reviewed these papers and by means of a vote selected the top 50 papers.

3. These 50 papers were presented to the general INFORMS membership for a vote. The ten papers that received the most votes were designated the "Ten Most Influential" papers of Management Science's first half century.

Lester R. Ford Jr.

     No, Barbara is not a mathematician! Her conquests with tangrams evolved into a hobby of stained glass, items such as lamps that will turn into collector's items because she only made five. Two are owned by puzzle collectors from the International Puzzle Party, Jerry Slocum, a well-renowned puzzle collector, owns one of them. She toyed around with different designs in stained glass and we have quite a few items around the house. She has made mobiles and numerous other items.

     While doing this she became involved in quilting. She has corresponded with one of the world-renowned quilters, Questa Benberry. In her encounters of giving quilt presentations at various quilters' guilds, she ran across a young lady who was so excited by her book on tangrams, she made a very large and beautiful quilt that Barbara purchased. It took Viola Mitchell a long time to make it. Its value is priceless. After quilting, the medium became appliqué on pillows, wall hangings with designs of cats, birds, fish and more that you can find in her first book, The Master Revealed - A Journey with Tangrams. When Barbara first pursued her first book, she could not find any interested publishers. If you read her first book, The Master Revealed - A Journey with Tangrams, she mentions me giving her a little push to complete it. Ever since then it has been Tangrams all the way!. Barbara's first book is now in its third printing. It has led her to look at the market and see what is being offered. We have met a number of people connected with tangrams, specifically the designers and owners of Tangoes®. The book and Tangoes® can go hand in hand. She is still selling them along with other tangram products.

     Since I knew of Barbara's great love of tangrams. I found myself at a jeweler one day and asked her to join me there. A real tangrammy SURPRISE to come and see!

Ask the Author

Question: How did you start with Tangrams?

Trees, tall redwood trees everywhere – high to block the sun as we stand in a dark part of the woods. At a garage sale, four sets of wooden tangrams. What drew me? Lori would say it was the colors; yes, bright primary colors - red, blue, green, and yellow, and the feel of the wooden pieces. Colors, the feel, and something else – crisp geometric shapes – yellow triangles, green square, and blue squares. For now everything fit perfectly side against side. Colors, the feel, and the tick sounds of wood on a table. What perfection, dexterity and the tick tick of wood.
Seventy-five cents or was it twenty-five?. . .for four sets of tangrams, an ancient Chinese puzzle – the purchase price too small to remember in terms of the money exchanged but a transaction that would change my life.
With the wooden pieces was a small paper explaining tangrams: use the seven pieces of one color and make the cat – perhaps it was the boat – it may even have been the candle - all in silhouette. Use the seven red pieces and make the cat. Turn the page over for the solution to see how to place the pieces to make the cat.

Question: Do you have a favorite design?

When first asked this question, I automatically said no because I liked so many; I couldn't pick a favorite. When leafing through pictures, I stopped when I reached the "Fish and Bubble" design. It was a favorite. It was one of the few designs where I said "aha" when I created it and I used it in a stained glass mobile, fabric, and on the computer.

Do you have a question? Email me your tangram related question and I will answer on the website. . .

Loading the audio player . . .

"Gazing at the South of River"

top of page

Contents Copyright 2005 - All Rights Reserved - Tandora's Box Press
Email randyford@snowcrest.net with any comments, questions or problems.