Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hyperbolic crochet - hooray!

On Sunday (16th) myself and my sister Thea made our way through the wind and rain to attend the Hyperbolic crochet workshop being held in the Southbank centre. When we arrived the seats were already mostly full of eager crocheters and we hurried to find ourselves a place before it started.

Margaret Wertheim from the Institute For Figuring (IFF) started the workshop by giving a very interesting talk about how the Chicago and New York hyperbolic crochet coral reefs came about. She started by explaining what hyperbolic space was (which I won't try to do here - but if you are curious then the IFF have got a very good explanation here) and how in 1997 the mathematician Dr Daina Taimina was able to construct the first physical model of it by using crochet. Margaret then went on to describe the the effects of global warming on the great barrier reef in Australia - that the reef was rapidly becoming 'bleached' due to the increase in water temperature and that 1 third of it was already bleached and dying. Next we got to see a number of slides showing the crochet reef exhibitions in America as well as getting to hold and examine a large number of the different crochet coral pieces that Margaret had with her (some of these can be seen in the photo top left).

After Margaret's talk we were all really keen to have a go at making some coral forms and were allowed to help ourselves to the large stash of yarn that Rowan yarn had donated. Many of the attendees were new to crochet but after a fantastic finger crochet demonstration from Inga they too had a go.

Thea and I also got straight into some hyperbolic action with Thea deciding to try a form starting with a circle and I began a form that started with a simple chain. Once everyone had a hook and some yarn we all got straight to work and were completely focused on our crochet - so focused in fact that most people forgot to stop for some tea!

One of the nicest things about this workshop was the chance to meet some of the other crocheters involved in a group like this. One of my fellow crocheters from the Crochet UK yahoo group Susan came over and said hello to me and we had a great chat about crochet and local groups - thanks for saying hi Susan! I also got the chance to meet Inga who has done such amazing crochet work for the Chicago crochet reef (be sure to have a look at some of the magnificent pieces that she has made here)

All in all a fantastic day out and now I'm brimming with excitement about the chance to take part and produce work that be exhibited in the main foyer area at the Royal Festival Hall between 11th June - 17th August. If you want more information about getting involved with this fantastic project then send and email to the UK reef team at:


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Hello from New York. We've enjoyed creating pieces for and viewing the IFF's exhibit now on view at the World Financial Center Winter Garden. Visit us at
You'll find links to the New York Times article on Margaret and her workshops, the Time Out New York review of the exhibit "Coral Fixation" and a radio podcast about Fiber Arts & Science.