Back in 2005 two women for the Institute for Figuring decided to launch an amazing project called The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Project. They crocheted a very realistic looking replica of The Great Barrier Reef. The project was designed to help raise awareness about the environmental issues (such as global warming) that are doing serious damage to the reef. This amazing project has grown in size and gained a lot of attention over the years. It also also resulted in numerous spinoff projects around the world (called Satellite Reefs). Right now one of these projects, the UK Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef, is on display for about a month at the Salisbury Arts Centre in the UK.

The UK Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef consists of thousands of different pieces of crocheted artwork. The reef isn’t done growing and changing either. A series of drop-in crafting lessons held at the Salisbury Arts Centre will encourage people to add their own coral pieces to the reef. This is a great way to teach people the art of crochet while allowing them to crochet for a cause at the same time. It’s a great way to educate people about environmental issues without boring them.

For example, do you know anything about reef bleaching? The IFF website explains:

“Corals acquire their colors from microscopic zooaxanthellae that live within the polyps – these symbiotic organisms help the polyps feed. When corals get stressed by environmental toxins, or by rising water temperatures, the polyps expel the micro-organisms, leading to the washed out look known as “bleaching.” Polyps can survive for a short time in the absence of zooaxanthellae, but not over the long term. A healthy reef ecology is a co-operative one and in the long term the corals need the microorganisms to survive. Over the past decade reefs around the world have been subject to an increasing number of major bleaching events, suggesting that rising water temperatures are taking a heavy toll.”

That’s a lengthy explanation that some people might not take an interest in. The eye-catching “bleached reef” portion of the Salisbury Arts Centre is anything but boring, though. It has creamy silver and pale green yarns that help depict what happens when this environmental issue occurs out in nature. Hopefully people will use this opportunity to learn about the issue and enjoy crocheting at the same time.

Have you seen any of the coral reef projects in person?


San Francisco based and crochet-obsessed writer, dreamer and creative spirit!


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