Combining Arts & Science With Crochet

It is always stimulating to be among “one’s people”, as NicKnits would say. It is particularly stimulating when it is people that are smart and even able to communicate their smartness either in words or in yarn. When they are able to combine the two, it becomes pure magic. Yesterday at the Science Gallery was just that, magic. Margaret Wertheim communicated the findings of Daina Taimina‘s fine mind so very well. She managed to get my head around the basics of the hyperbolic plane and sphere, which is no mean feat and more importantly, that is all I need to make the magic for the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef happen with the crochet hook.

Margaret Wertheim was in Dublin to kick start the Irish section of the international Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef which will be on display at The Science Gallery in Dublin in March. She spoke passionately about the environmental impact of temperatures rising on our planet and the resulting death of the natural hyperbolic beauties that coral reefs are. They die, even when waters become only one degree warmer. Or they bleach, as it is called. One third of The Great Barrier Reef, one of the natural wonders of our fantastic world, is already bleached and dead.

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The Flux Café at The Science Gallery, Dublin

Margaret Wertheim, encouraged us to create our own Irish Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef based on the mathematical principals using whatever yarn we can lay hands on. We can use rubbish and throwaway plastic that is dominating our modern way of life already. As she put it, ‘Nature is dying from plastic. It is not graceful or beautiful, but it is vital to the project.’ Even the Science Gallery’s Flux Café has chairs of plastic…

She encouraged us to use colours and not be restricted by shape or materials although the reef submission must be made through female handicraft, so casting items in bronze or carving them in wood is not an option.

Not only will we make corals of beautiful yarns and colours, there will also be a Toxic Reef which will be made from garbage and junk. A modern day ‘Midden heap‘. We were encouraged to keep our plastics for a week/month/year to heighten awareness of how much plastic rubish we generate over a given periode of time. The plastic will obviously need to be cleaned otherwise it will become smelly. Margaret Wertheim said that this exercise had really got herself and her sister thinking about their behaviour and they had changed it too, because of the size of their heap within a couple of weeks and not least, all the cleaning of plastic. I personally think this aspect to the whole Crochet Coral Reef is the most vital and exiting as it just might change our collective behaviour. It has the potential anyway. The collected Irish junk will all go on to the collective Irish Midden at the exhibition in March.

IMG_7092smallI encourage you to grab your hook (or your needles?) and let rip either with flat pieces or spherical pieces or whatever corals tickle your fancy. Not least do I encourage you to join us in this feast of crochet, where we might just be able to change the behaviour of our part of our world! Spread the word!

The Science Gallery will keep a check on the whole reef process and by signing up to their newsletter you can get the details of the whole project. We are also currently working on getting an Irish Hyperbolic Coral Reef Ravelry group up and running and I will keep posting here about the project as we progress.

Watch this space! But for now, grab your hook and create items of beauty for the exhibition! And don’t forget to spread the word!!!

Info:
There are cold water coral reefs off Ireland on the Porcupine Bank. The Great Barrier Reef is a a tropical reef.

Note:
If you are interested in hearing more about the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef, you can watch a very good video on TedTV, here where Margaret Wertheim basically gives the lecture she gave us yesterday at The Science Gallery.

Visit The Institute For Figuring for detailed information of the entire project.

Read Daina Taimina’s book: Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes to get an insight into the geometry behind hyperbolic planes.

Personal note:
It was great to meet so many virtual friends in real life. Thanks to Stitchlily, Bionic Laura, Fish (Ravelry link) and not least Mairead (Ravelry link)! I am sure there were others there that I should know that I know… We will meet again!

2 responses to “Combining Arts & Science With Crochet”

  1. Bionic Laura says:

    Great article about a great day. I too have been inspired and have lots of ideas about making crochet coral.
    I like your website, I better link to it from my blog!

  2. Irene says:

    Thank you Laura and Faílte! I hope we can use each others for developing this whole thing. As you know, I am no mathematician and have quite a limited capacity to ‘get it’, so you may rest assured that I will be asking science questions. In turn, feel free to ask me crochet questions! 😉

    I need to get my blog links updated and yours will be on it. One of these days, that is!!!