Back Page Summer 2013: A Reef Grows in Denver

On the Back Page of the Summer 2013 issue of Interweave Crochet, you'll find a stunning photo of stunning crochet. Here's its story.

The Denver Art Museum just opened a very cool exhibit: Spun: Adventures in Textiles (it's open until Sept 22, 2013). You can read all about initial impressions on our sister site Spinning Daily.

The Spun show is an extensive array of all things textile, including the Institute for Figuring's Crochet Coral Reef project. You've probably heard about the Crochet Coral Reef project—it's been around since 2005. But the remarkable thing about this reef is that it keeps growing!

On its site, CCR notes: 
The Crochet Coral Reef (CCR) is a project by the Institute For Figuring, a non-profit Los-Angeles based organization that pioneers creative new methods for engaging the public about scientific and environmental issues by putting people and communities at the core. The CCR is a project that resides at the intersection of mathematics, marine biology, handicraft and community art practice, and also responds to the environmental crisis of global warming and the escalating problem of oceanic plastic trash. It has been exhibited in art and science museums worldwide, including the Andy Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh), The Hayward (London), the Science Gallery (Dublin), and the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History (Washington D.C.) Seen by more than three million people, the CCR is one of the largest participatory science + art projects in the world.

Through its Satellite Reef program, the Institute's team has held lectures and workshops on five continents to teach the techniques of reef-making, and the related science and math, to local communities. Since 2005 the IFF has continued to build this global network that now includes more than 7000 active citizens.

One of those citizens is one of our favorite crochet designers, Linda Permann.

Linda created the pieces shown on the Back Page (with details of pieces shown here). Linda is the designer of several projects in Interweave Crochet and elsewhere, as well as author of Crochet Adorned  and Little Crochet. As such, she usually crochets with a hook in one hand and a pen in the other.

Here, she tells us about the experience of creating these delightful contributions to the Crochet Coral Reef project.

Working on pieces for the reef was really fun. I start each one with a ball of yarn and a general idea (long tubes, or pods, or brain corals) and just get going. Knowing that I'm never going to have to write down how I did something means I can put my hook wherever I want, whenever I want, try weird things and keep them or rip them out, and crochet without worrying about symmetry, simplicity or efficiency. It's also been a really good excuse to play with my novelty yarns. They are crazy and perfect to create the little hairy edges to these lifelike forms.
It's also liberating to know that no one is going to pick at how they turn out, they are just for me, for fun, and—well, until the writing of this article—a totally anonymous contribution. 

I actually have a lot to learn when it comes to crochet sculpture, structure and strength, because it is really all about the form and less about the stitch pattern. I rarely use solid single crochet in any of my designs but it happens to work best for reef sculpture, and although I might find it boring to work an entire shawl in it, it's actually quite meditative to make these little tubes. I don't have to think about them, I just keep hooking and hooking and before I know it I have another tube.

As a designer, it was easy to forget to take the time to play and experiment. Every time I start something new, I ask myself if I should write the pattern. It's been easier to let go of that now that I have a day job, but, it's still an impulse. The Crochet Coral Reef project has been a really nice creative break from all of that.


The exquisite photography of these exquisite pieces was done by Jon Rose. Visit his site  to see more of his work. Be sure to check out his Found photography.

Have you created pieces for the Crochet Coral Reef Project? Or created crochet for the sake of creating? Please share your own crochet creations in our Member Photo Gallery

Happy creating!



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