So, you ask, where can I find a beautiful meeting place for geometry, yarn, and colorful ocean life? Look no further than the incredible Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef!
The brainchild of sisters, Margaret and Christine Wertheim of the Institute For Figuring, this ever-evolving crochet reef started as an homage to the Great Barrier Reef near their childhood home in Queensland, Australia. After years of creeping growth, the oceanic masterpiece overtook the sisters’ living room and branched out to many spacious homes in exhibitions worldwide. According to their website, the crochet reef has become possibly one of the globe’s largest community art projects. Click “Continue reading” for a how-to guide on hyperbolic crochet, info on becoming involved in the project, images of the crochet reefs, and a video TED talk from Margaret Wertheim (one of the project’s originators).
Hyperbolic crochet (click the link for a how-to pamphlet from the IFF) is a technique created in 1997 by Cornell University mathematician Dr. Daina Taimina. Margaret and Christine took this technique and adapted it to make a whole host of delicate sea creatures. Check out this Gallery of Crocheted Hyperbolic Models for some visual aids that might help you get started. If you’d like to see the published paper describing this technique, click here.
Interested in getting involved in the reef project? Your local organization or school can head up a community effort to create and host a Satellite Reef. Chicago became the first city with their own communal Satellite Reef in 2007 thanks to the fantastic leadership of the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum. There have been 15 more displays in several states and countries since then. From middle schools and local art centers to fancy museums and university libraries, any community with the right spirit can create a great Satellite Reef. The latest exhibit can be seen from October 16th, 2010 through September 24th, 2011 at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.
To follow along with Crochet Coral Reef news, check out their bright blog. Tell us what you think about organizing your own community Satellite Reef project!