Saturday, October 30, 2010

Hyperbolic crotchet

Ever since my mother and her crafty cohorts started crocheting lacy borders around hankies about 25 years ago, and then moved on,  to my utter incredulity, to edging face washers and kitchen hand towels, I have been bemused by the items people create in wool and cotton thread.  I do have a thing for granny squares, but otherwise find it difficult to get too enthused about amateur efforts with the crochet hook and knitting needle.  That is, until Kerry crocheted the rock paperweight cover and the dish cloth.  Now I find crocheted items keep popping up and I have quite unintentionally discovered an entire collection of quirky, practical and appealing pieces.  I am noticing that the standards have improved considerably since the Anglican ladies guild members met mid-week in the 1980s.  It is comforting and nostalgic.

Following is a mini exhibition.

Chapstick covers for keychain by Rachel at Crochetspot
Coffee cup holder by Rachel at Crochetspot
She also has tutorials for business card holders, soap savers, hats, cushions and shrugs.

The ubiquitous party bunting by Natalie Jost.  A personal favourite.
Mobile phone pouch by PaisleyJade

Then there is guerrilla crochet such as this magical tree in Copenhagen captured by The House That Lars Built.  There seems to be quite a bit of this going on in the northern hemisphere. 

But ... the piece de resistance is...

The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef

The exhibition is showing at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington
16 October 2010 to 17 April  2011.

It is a vast and splendiferous coral reef made entirely of crotchet!

The project is the brainshild of Margaret and Christine Wertheim, two sisters who grew up in Queensland and now live in Los Angeles where they are members of the fascinating Institute For Figuring.

"In 1997, Dr Daina Taimina, a mathematician, discovered how to make physical models of the geometry known as "hyperbolic space" using the art of crochet. Until that time many mathematicians believed it was impossible to construct such forms; yet nature had been doing just that for hundreds of millions of years. Many marine organisms embody hyperbolic geometry in their anatomies, including corals. This geometry maximizes surface area in a limited volume, thereby providing greater opportunity for filter feeding by stationary corals."

The exhibition website contains an ocean of information. I could swim around in it for hours. There are are instructions on how to make hyperbolic shapes and members of the public are invited to contribute pieces for the exhibition. Is there no end to the wonder of crotchet and its mathematical genius?


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