Have Ewe Any Wool?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Coral Reef Project

Jennifer from the Smithsonian came to Nature's Yarns on July 6th to talk about the "Smithsonian Coral Reef Project". I LOVE anything related to math, so of course, I was intrigued. The overall project is world wide and there have been exhibits in many other countries as well - Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef. The whole thing was started by two sisters from the "Institute of Figuring". Their reef as well as part of the reef from Ireland will be part of the Smithsonian display as well. The sisters will even be at the Smithsonian to assist with assembling the exhibit.

The Smithsonian's exhibit will be comprised primarily of crocheted hyperbolic items that emulate the coral reefs. A few local yarn shops are participating, and Nature's Yarns in Fairfax is one of them. For the next several weeks, every Tuesday evening beginning at 6 pm, everyone is welcome to drop in and work on some "coral" for the reef. It's also a great chance to learn how to crochet if you don't yet know how! I've gone the last two weeks and it's been a lot of fun!

There will be 3 sections to the reef:
  • Healthy Reef - vibrant and full of color
  • Toxic Reef - made of plastic bags, plastics
  • Bleached Reef - an unhealthy reef - lacks color and is primarily white or beige
I think that the coolest thing is that EVERYONE's creations will be part of the exhibit! I've already made a couple of items and am working on some more. It's amazing how addictive hyperbolic crocheting can be! It's a great way to learn and explore crocheting - these are VERY forgiving projects....and no one will criticize your work.

The small turquoise "coral" was crocheted out of a bulky acrylic I found at Walmart. It worked up very fast. I edged it with a ribbon yarn to give it a little character and to give it some glistening elements. I'm currently making the "mama" to this one. Both of these will be part of the healthy Coral Reef - full of color and life.

I also made this one from dozens of plastic bags cut into loopy strips that I then joined - just like you join strings of loopers for weaving rugs or making necklaces from the pot holder loops we all played with as kids. I edged it with a plastic-like acrylic to make it look hairy with icky things that lurk in the deep of the ocean - courtesy of pollution, etc. Crocheting with plastic was NOT a pleasant experience! Ick! This piece of coral will be part of the Toxic Reef.

Stephanie came to Nature's Yarns this past Tuesday and brought the cutest Amigurumi knitted sea creatures - they're absolutely adorable! She had made an octopus and a star fish. They are just too cute for words! We're not sure if these can be in the Smithsonian display as the rules state that the items need to be crocheted or if not crocheted, must be hyperbolic. The consensus was that she should definitely hang on to them - they take quite a bit of work to make and if they can't use them, it would be such a waste! I definitely need to make some of these guys for myself!

I've taken a few photos of the display at Nature's Yarns between 7/6 and 7/13...just before all the folks showed up for the Tuesday's "hyperbolic crochet session". The basic shapes we're making are shown in blue on the table in the photo on the left.

The "coral" will be displayed until it's sent to the Smithsonian to be incorporated into the exhibit. I think it's awesome that the items we all created will be part of the coral reef display that opens in mid October. How cool will it be to tell people that some of your work is on display at the Smithsonian?

Check out this week's display - there's been a lot of progress!


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