The Hyberbolic Crochet Coral Reef

comments (3) July 9th, 2008     

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kaytet kayte terry, contributor
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Details of some of the coral reef exhibit in New York City.
More details of some of the crochet coral reef exhibit in New York City.
Details of some of the coral reef exhibit in New York City.

Details of some of the coral reef exhibit in New York City.

Photo: Kayte Terry

Recently, Linda (the CraftStylish resident crochet expert) and I were lucky enough to visit the exhibit of the Hyberbolic Crochet Coral Reef here in New York. Curated by Christine and Margaret Wertheim of the Institute for Figuring, the coral reef is “a woolly celebration of the intersection of higher geometry and feminine handicraft, and a testimony to the disappearing wonders of the marine world.”

Using the techniques of Dr. Daina Taimina, who used crochet to demonstrate complex algorithms, Christine and Margaret began creating their reef of yarn. They discovered that, although the process is mathematical, the quality of yarn, type, and tightness of stitch used really make each piece, like nature, as individual as the living organism itself. Each piece they made was surprising, fascinating, and one of a kind.

The Hyberbolic Crochet Coral Reef is a collaborative process: Christine and Margaret encourage people to send in their own crocheted pieces, and as the reef travels the world, knitting and crochet circles join in to help. One of my favorite contributors to the Coral Reef is Helle Jorgensen, who crocheted the Rubbish Vortex from discarded plastic bags. Helle’s work is so beautiful and poetic, not in spite of but because of the materials she chooses. She has a tutorial for making yarn out of plastic bags on her blog here.

To find out more about the reef, visit the IFF’s coral reef site. There you can track the reef as it travels the world (London is next!), learn how to make hyberbolic crochet, and find out about contributing your work to the reef.

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Comments (3)

ddmjudd writes: Thanks for writing about this cool application of crocheting. I love projects that combine art, nature, and science!
Posted: 11:48 am on February 18th
welshgrl2 writes: I am totally going to go see this in London. It looks beautiful!
Posted: 2:14 pm on July 10th
madeline_mcrae writes: Wow! This is amazing.
Posted: 10:32 pm on July 9th
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