Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Crocheted Coral Reef

Introducing Sharon Massey, Store Manager at the Society for Contemporary Craft.
 Last weekend I went with a few other SCC staff members to the “Crafting a Nation” conference in Washington, DC.  It was great to be immersed in craft dialogue for two full days, and there were a range of topics that have been on my mind since returning home to Pittsburgh. 
One of my favorite topics was discussed during the Crafty Science conversation—the “Hyberbolic Crochet Coral Reef Project.”  This is an installation that combines a traditional feminine handicraft (crochet), environmental awareness (the endangerment of the world’s coral reefs), math (hyberbolic geometry), and community (the reefs are crocheted by any interested community members).  The result is a huge, beautiful, handmade installation of a yarn coral reef.  The project was created by sisters Margaret and Christine Wertheim of the Institute for Figuring, and has been created as “satellite” reefs in cities across the US, as well as Europe, Australia, and Africa.
"Crochet Coral and Anemone Garden" with sea slug by Marianne Midelburg.
Photos © The IFF by Alyssa Gorelick.
As a novice crochet enthusiast myself, I was excited by the images of the reefs, complete with bizarre color combinations and complex variations on the hyberbolic patterns, creating endless shapes and forms.  I was also excited by the images of community involvement that the project generates—grandmothers crocheting with their grandchildren, couples crocheting together, artists working next to people to never realized they could contribute to a work of art.  I am inspired to get my hooks out this winter and start crocheting some hyberbolic forms!  Who knows, maybe one day Pittsburgh will host a hyberbolic crochet coral reef.
Orange brain coral with urchins.

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