The “Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef,” project was started in 2007 by Australian born twin sisters, Margaret and Christine Wertheim. It was inspired by the Great Barrier Reef in their native Queensland, Australia and grew out of their concern for the devastation to marine life, caused by climate change and plastic trash.
“Wooliness and wetness aren’t exactly two concepts that you would initially pair together, but now this project reaches across five continents and has roots that extend into the fields of mathematics, marine biology, feminine handicraft and environmental activism,” said co-creator of the project Margaret Wertheim. “It’s taken on a viral dimension of its own, and in a beautiful way the development of the project parallels the evolution of life on Earth.”
As the name suggests, the “Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef” incorporates the world of mathematics. Throughout the ocean, the diverse forms of kelps, corals, and sea slugs are variations of a geometric form known as hyperbolic space. Mathematicians had long believed this type of geometry was impossible to represent physically, even though it has existed within nature for hundreds of millions of years but in 1997, Daina Taimina realized that models of hyperbolic space could be created using crochet—a discovery that astonished the mathematical world. The Wertheims, harnessed this discovery and started crocheting a coral reef - a thought-provoking fusion of science, conservation, mathematics, and art that celebrates the reefs' beautiful diversity and speaks to the urgent need to protect these vanishing ecosystems.
For those interested in crochet there are various free tutorials about how to make examples of these hyperbolic corals