Monday, December 06, 2010

Crochet Coral Reef

A couple of weeks ago the kids and I went Smithsonian hopping. Actually, it was November 2, Election Day. For some inexplicable reason, the kids were out of school. When I was a kid, I remember the gym/cafeteria being roped off and polling booths set up on the stage. I enjoyed watching all kinds of regular people wander into the school to vote. Anyway... we took advantage of the free day and drove into DC.

Our first stop was the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. I'd heard a story on the Studio 360 podcast about the crocheted coral reef, so I really wanted to visit it.

Apparently scientists had long been unable to figure out a spacial map for hyperbolic patterns. Coral (and lettuce and other natural forms) grow in this pattern which maximizes surface area. In 1997 Dr. Diana Taimina figured it out with yarn and crochet needles! Hooray for fiber art and science!

Crocheters from all over the world were invited to contribute to the reef.

That's just one section -- there were several display cases full of "coral." Other materials included plastic grocery sacks, old tape from vcr and cassettes and plastic twist ties.

I especially loved this green and purple section.
See more about the reef and watch a TED talk about the project here.

Speaking of crochet, isn't this scarf amazing?!

4 comments:

Gerrie said...

I would love to see that crocheted coral. A few years ago, Mr C had a software class in VA. We were in a hotel near the Metro and every day I would hop on and go Smithsonian ogling. I even went to the Holocaust Museum by myself - wish I had been with someone.

Kristin L said...

I've been following the progress of the coral reef online but would absolutely love to see it in real life!!

And yes, that scarf is gorgeous.

Michele said...

Love the coral reef! What a fun day...those extra days off are wonderful!

Karen said...

Wow.
What a neat project!!! Thank you for sharing Deborah. I also enjoyed the related Ted Talk (and the math review!).