Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef?! Wow!

This is not an art teacher post, but instead a cool story about combining craft with science and math, and also about preserving our planet. Today, while driving my car, I heard this story on my public radio station, on the show Studio 360. It was about the origin of a really awesome project, the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef. It began with the inspiration of a Cornell University mathematician who discovered that she could crochet a visual representation of hyperbolic geometry. I'd explain what that means if I understood it. Here's complete info I found online about the reef project:

Here's a link to amazing images of the crocheted reefs (there are now many of them):
And here's one of many videos available:

You'd probably never know this, but I was a bit of a math geek in high school. Last weekend I was reminded about this, when I attended my (40th!!!) high school reunion, and a guy I barely remembered came up to me and exclaimed "You were my math buddy!!! I'd forgotten that I was assigned to help him with his math. I know this may not be the most normal background for an art teacher, but while I haven't followed a mathematical career path, I sometimes incorporate the fun of mathematics into art projects. You'll see this later this year when I post a mathematical art project that's a favorite of mine and the kids.
I'm also a former SCUBA diver, and I especially loved to dive in tropical waters with lovely coral reefs. Global warming is damaging coral reefs, and I am concerned for their future. So while I don't crochet, I was really smitten by this story that combined the structure of mathematics and the beauty of the coral reef, threw in some environmental awareness and activism, and then finally added this really nutty artsy craftsy connection. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. There's a ton of info and photos on the Internet.


  1. My Art Ed professor is amazing and he was almost a math teacher! He was from a very small town and had never had the chance to take an Art class until he attended Kansas State Teachers College (now Emporia State University.) Thanks for sharing those images, that's pretty cool!

  2. Hi Phyl - I thought of you this weekend!!! My husband an I spent the weekend in Washington, DC. Saturday morning we walked into the Museum of Natural History walked through the ocean section to get to the new Hall of Man and what do I see...the Hyperbolic Crochet Reef - it is amazing. I am not sure if this is the exact same as you posted about -- but if you have a chance to get down to DC before April 2011 - GO!!!
    Here is a link:
    They are selling bracelets by this crochet artists:

    Enjoy - Susan