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?!