Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Joy of Metal Clay: Crochet Coral Reef

I can't help but digress from metal clay today and share with you aTED talk that I watched Friday night that really got me thinking. It is from 2009 and is called the Beautiful Math of Coral  with Margaret Wertheim.

Margaret Wertheim: The Beautiful Math of Coral (17 minutes)

It is quite a technological discussion but also  about how craft can help explain or understand concepts in science, physics, biology or math.  Ms. Wertheim discusses how hyperbolic geometry was something scientist could not model until Dr. Daina Taimina crocheted a model in 1997.  Bottom line I can't condense or even try to explain the techonlogy piece of this talk but you have to check out the images of the crocheted coral.  They are fabulous.The images are beautiful and can be found on the hyperbolic coral reef website.
My take home from this video is a reminder that crafting is essential to our creativity and understanding of the world.  I personally find that working problems out with my hands much more satisfying and successful than any other option. 

The other piece of the story is about the crocheted coral Ms. Wertheim and her sister started to create shich suddenly it went viral and they had people all over the world contributing to their crocheted coral reef project.  The whole project lead to the creation of the Institute of Figuring.

The Institute of Figuring is described as:

 "Located in the Chinatown district of Los Angeles, the IFF’s venue functions both as an                    exhibition   space and as a “play tank” for developing new methods of creative engagement with topics ranging from geometry and topology, to physics, computation, and biological forms"

Whether you want to be scientific or not, don't forget to take some time and be creative.

The Institute of Figuring has a descriptive book on hyperbolic space making crochet corals which you can purchase called  A Field Guide to Hyperbolic Space: An Exploration of the Intersection of Higher Geometry and Feminine Handicraft. I found this link  How to crochet hyperbolic corals.

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