Monday, April 11, 2011

Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef

My mom and I went downtown yesterday to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History to see the crochet coral reef. It was beyond anything we could have imagined. I’m sorry for so many, many photos, but it was hard to pick from the many I took. Remember to click on them to enlarge.

I think this one might have been made with some vintage pieces.

This woman is showing the crochet reef examples to these kids. The girl has a magnifying glass. There were a lot of kids around and they seemed to think this was very cool (or awesome or whatever they say nowadays).

 The top piece is made with hair bands, and notice the crocheted flowers in the center.

 A plastic bottle is used in the piece that has a lot of orange.

This display was 7 feet tall!


This is my favorite shot. Notice in the left, top the big clam shell on it's side. 

 This is a real one!

The HCCR is a project by the Institute For Figuring (love this name!). The HCCR was created and curated by Margaret and Christine Wertheim.  From the brochure – “The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef is a celebration of the intersection of geometry and handicraft and a testimony to the disappearing wonders of the marine world. Launched as a response to the devastation of living reefs from global warming and ocean acidification, the Crochet Reef resides equally in the realms of art, science, mathematics and environmentalism.”

I learned to crochet as a teenager, but I haven’t done it since my 20’s. I’m remembering the afghan I made my step sister and her new husband back in 1976. It was made of black and neon yellow, green, blue and orange (maybe some other colors, too) granny squares. What a sight! I’m sure she got rid of that thing a long time ago. My mom is a knitter and I learned to knit a few years ago.  I made a few items, but knitting hurts my hands so I gave it up (I’m sparing them for quilting!). I haven’t tried to pick up crocheting again because I heard it is hard on the wrists. This is tempting me, but since I don’t need a coral reef (in the oceans, yes, but not in my house) I think I’m safe. ;O)

For more information, go to


  1. I have never heard of this exhibit, thanks, Maureen! The pictures are amazing, the idea of the project is mindboggling! I made one crocheted afhgan, using a teach yourself to crochet book. I think I'll stick to quilts!


  2. haha..what an idea!
    but I want this 7 feet high coral reef in my living room now !! throw inside and cuddling.. :D

  3. This is an absolutely amazing project and I will be investigating it further - not that I am very good at crocheting. I hear a lot about the effects of weather etc on the reefs as the Great Barrier Reef is right on my doorstep and it is a wonderful experience to snorkel and see it all up close. Take care.

  4. Thanks for the pics! Last year they featured a knitted coral reef. Try the Kollage square crochet and knitting needeles.
    I love them! They work great, and prevent hand fatigue.

  5. WOW! That's incredible! Wish I could have been there.

  6. What an amazing work of art! It is a very creative way of getting an important message across.

  7. how amazing that must have been to see in person!
    wow thanks for sharing it with us
    I am in awe!

  8. How did I miss this post on your blog? I must have been asleep and skipped a few days. The crocheted reef display is mind blowing! It's gorgeous!
    Don't feel you have to apologize for so many photos of such a spectacular exhibit. Wish I could have been there, but your post is the next best thing. Thanks!