Hyperbolic Crochet: The Intersection of Geometry, Feminine Handicraft, and Environmental Activism

A mathematically precise model of a hyperbolic pane by Dr. Diana Taimina.
Photo by The Institute for Figuring

A mathematically precise model of a hyperbolic pane by Dr. Diana Taimina.

Hyperbolic space is at your finger tips. A ball of yarn and a crochet hook are the only tools needed to make models of hyperbolic forms–once believed impossible to build. Created and curated by twin sisters Christine and Margaret Wertheim of The Institute for Figuring, “The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef is a woolly celebration of the intersection of higher geometry and feminine handicraft, and a testimony to the disappearing wonders of the marine world.”

I’ve always been a knitter–but now I’m inspired to pick up a hook and join in the international handwork circle:

The reef is being exhibited in the United States at the Sant Ocean Hall, Focus Gallery, Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, Washington D.C. through April 24, 2011.

"Crochet Coral and Anemone Garden" with sea slug by Marianne Midelburg. Photos © The IFF by Alyssa Gorelick. (used with permission)

Check out Margaret talking about the project on TED.

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