To Inspire, Transform & Heal

Linda Wiggen Kraft
Creativity for the Soul

Mother Earth, Women’s Wisdom, Women’s Handicrafts – Crochet Coral Reef

I recently saw an art exhibit called Crochet Coral Reef in Santa Cruz, California.


It honors women’s brilliance, handicrafts and love of Mother Earth. It is a unique collaboration weaving together math, science, handicraft, environmentalism and community art.





It was the discovery that a women’s handicraft could explain and create a physical form for a complex mathematical theory that started the journey of this exhibit.



Mathematician Daina Taimina at Cornell University in the late 1990s made a 3D model of hyperbolic geometry through crocheting.





Until then this geometric theory from the early 1800s had not been seen in physical form, and many mathematicians thought it impossible to create. It was the brilliance of a woman’s mind and women’s handicraft that brought this mathematical theory to life.





As it turns out these hyperbolic shapes are the same forms as corals, curly leaf lettuce, kale, shelf fungus, holly leaves and other natural life forms.





Crochet Coral Reef began in 2005 as a joint project by twin sisters Margaret and Christine Wertheim. Margaret is a scientist and mathematician. Christine is an artist. They grew up in Australia near the Great Barrier Reef.





The discovery of crocheting coral forms lead the sisters to create this exhibit that honors and brings awareness about coral reefs’ beauty and fragility to others and lets other crocheters contribute their creativity to this international community.




The Wertheim twins started creating the Crochet Coral Reef in their Los Angeles living room.




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From there it has grown with other crocheter’s creativity into the main exhibit that has been displayed in the US, UK and Europe.





Some of the pieces show the bleaching of coral reefs caused by rising ocean temperatures. They are  made from plastics and trash.







Here is some information about the exhibit and the artists.






There are satellite reefs created in other cites. The website – – tells  more and how to create these amazing shapes.

There ares TED talks by Margaret Wertheim and Daina Taimina about their discoveries and this exhibit. The Santa Cruz exhibit closed in early May. Hopefully the next exhibit location will be scheduled soon.

What is fascinating to me back in the Midwest of America nowhere near an ocean is the same hyperbolic geometry I see in my garden.  The curly leaves of kale and lettuce are two examples. Maybe I should learn how to crochet.









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