Irish Crochet Coral Reef

There are rare occasions in ones life when you hear an idea that gets you inspired and excited and gets your brain firing on all it's cylinders. For me Saturday was such a day. Margaret Wertheim of The Institute for Figuring  gave a talk at the Science Gallery in Dublin about her work and the possibility of setting up an Irish Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef.  

I've talked about the crochet coral reef before so when I heard that Margaret Wertheim was coming here to talk I immediately applied for a ticket, the workshop was full in the end so lots of others obviously find the idea as fascinating as I do. A number of fellow Ravelry members like IreneOrla, Fish and Mairead came along and it was great to meet them. Orla is a woman obsessed with hyperbolic coral, I think the organizers were stunned when she produced a large bag of fabulous crochet coral.

Margaret spoke about hyperbolic geometry and how crochet was used to make a mathematically correct model of a hyperbolic plane which had never been done before. Many people switch off when maths is mentioned but that wasn't the case with this talk. Margaret is a great communicator, she explained the maths by asking us questions and showing us real crocheted examples of what she was talking about.

She then explained how coral has a hyperbolic structure and that she and her twin sister decided to craft a coral reef based on hyperbolic crochet. Like a real coral reef which is made up of millions of individual corals the crochet coral reef is made up of bits donated by lots of people. Like a real reef the crocheters adapted and evolved the basic pattern to give a huge variety of forms. Margaret also talked about how global warming and pollution are affecting coral reefs. Reefs all over the world are dying, sadly they turn from beautiful vibrant reefs into sad bleached places. In response to this a toxic reef has been created made from recycled materials and plastics to raise awareness of how waste can have a devastating effect on these fragile natural ecosystems. You can watch Margaret talk in this TED video.

After the talk we did some crochet. Those of us who can crochet started making hyberbolic planes and pseudospheres. Those who couldn't crochet started learning. The hope is that we will organize workshops and get others involved so that we can all build an Irish reef. A Ravelry Group (Login Required) has been set up to help with this, so come along and join. The reef will be exhibited at the Science Gallery. I've already made two small bits of coral. I think I might spin some plastic yarn and make some toxic coral with it. It was such an inspiring day. After it I got out my books on the emergence of biological forms to see what other kinds of things I could possibly crochet. I saw a cool article about nudibranchs in the National Geographic, I think they could be crocheted in some wild colours. I think crochet coral will be coming up again on the blog, watch this space.

My talented friend Eddie from Beanstalk has promised to help out with my blog. He's going to redesign things so I'm really looking forward to having a shiny new look.

2 Responses to "Irish Crochet Coral Reef" (Leave A Comment)

Unknown says
October 27, 2009 at 12:54 PM

Wow - that sounds amazing. Now I have to go away and research into hyperbolic geometry and crochet. Never thought I'd type that sentence!

knitfairy says
October 29, 2009 at 9:03 AM

if u want to know about crochet and geometry look no further than here: