Yarn bombing takes the art of crocheting to the streets. The Crochet Coral Reef Project takes it underwater. Yarn bombing is usually done with the lighthearted purpose of adding fun to our daily lives; crocheting coral reefs is done for the heartfelt purpose of saving our oceans.
Photograph by Patricia Barden (Remember To Breath on Flickr)
The Crochet Coral Reef Project was created by twin sisters Margaret Wertheim and Christine Wertheim of the Institute For Figuring (IFF), which is “a Los-Angeles based non-profit that pioneers creative new methods for engaging the public about scientific and mathematical issues by putting people and communities at the core.” While they are deeply concerned about the environmental crisis of global warming and the escalating problem of oceanic plastic trash, they recognized that calling attention to it through the usual means of scientific lectures and white papers was unlikely to energize people. Instead they sought to create an unusual coalition of mathematics, marine biology, handicraft and community art practice. Interestingly, crocheting is the perfect medium for creating the undulating patterns of coral and other undersea flora and fauna.
The original 2005 goal was to create a (dry land) relatively modest crocheted version of a coral reef that could become a “participatory science + art endeavor” which would help people see their beauty and fragility. The project has grown exponentially since then and has spawned many satellite reefs crocheted by local volunteers to raise money for local marine projects. An estimated 3 million people have seen crocheted reefs displayed in 35 cities and countries worldwide, including Ireland, England, Latvia, Germany, Australia, and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. Learn more through the TED talk given by Margaret Wertheim. Find many more examples of this stunning crocheted art here.