f you haven't yet gotten to see the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef, you should definitely make time to see it. It's an amazing installation, merging textiles, traditionally female handicraft, environmentalism, and mathematics. I also love the way the artists invited members of each community to contribute to the project. Margaret Wertheim describes he project in this TED talk:
I had visited the exhibit briefly about a month ago, but was able to explore it more fully yesterday. I think I could spend hours looking at all the different textures, colors, and shapes, identifying individual contributions and appreciating the gestalt of the various reefs that were created. The reefs are incredibly beautiful and lush.
The contributions also used a wide variety of materials, including recycled materials like audiotape, plastic cutlery, and food wrappers.
Look at these lacy creatures that are so evocative of jellyfish:
And these urchin-like creations with kelp or seaweed around them have an almost Seussian quality:
As always, I am a sucker for beadwork, particularly with this luscious texture.
The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef is currently on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History until April 24. There is even a Coral Reef Family Festival tomorrow (March 16, 2011). Of course, the museum is totally free of charge (as are all the Smithsonian museums). I am so glad I got the chance to see this amazing exhibit.