Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A picture paints a thousand words

The Hyperbolic Coral Reef is here!

The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Exhibit opened at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History on the National Mall in Washington DC on Sunday. It was originally scheduled to open on Saturday, but a watermain break on Constitution Avenue right in front of the museum caused the delay of the opening.

I walked over from my office after work yesterday.

Situated in the Sant Ocean Hall of the museum, it is a sight to behold.

The original reef was the brainchild of two Australian sisters, Margaret and Christine Wertheim of the Institute for Figuring in Los Angeles. Christine is a mathematician and Margaret a fiber artist. Christine came up with the idea of using crochet to explain hyperbolic plane to her students. Margeret saw what her sister did and thought it looked like a coral reef. The two sisters are from Queensland, home of the Great Barrier Reefs. They thought it might be a good idea to use this fiber craft as a means to show people the beauty of the coral reef and raise the public awareness of the
dangers coral reefs around the world are facing from global warming, natural disasters and pollution.

Thus the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef was born. The first one was displayed in Australia. The idea took off and subsequent reefs were made and displayed around the world.

The Smithsonian Community Reef was made by over 800 men, women and children from the National Capital Area as well as contributors around the country who heard about the project. There are over 8,000 pieces. The youngest crocheter was three; the oldest 101.

The exhibit will be on displayed until April 24, 2011.

Go take a look. Take a camera with you.

Here are some eye candies.

The are all kinds of colors. And then there are the white corals. The white corals are dead corals, or known as bleached corals. It is the biggest problem corals around the world are facing right now and it is caused primarily by the increased temperature of the water in the tropics. The warmer temperature causes algae to grow and the algae feeds on the corals, killing them. The dead corals lost thier colors, thus the "bleached" status.

Most people don't get to see the coral reefs up close and personal. Most people also don't realize the importance of the coral reefs to the survival of the ocean life. The reef is the largest hatcheryand nursery. More than half the fish in the ocean mate, lay eggs, feed and spend their juvenile years around the coral reefs. It is the biggest food source for the fish in the ocean.

The Smithsonian reef is the largest ever made. There are over 8,000 individual crocheted pieces.

And among these I managed to find Bill's reef.

It brought tears to my eyes. Bill loved the ocean. He was an avid diver. He loved the reef. His remains are a part of an artificial reef in the Chesapeake Bay. And now his reef is a part of the Smithsonian.

I am proud to be a part of this.

1 comment:

KnitNana said...

You have every right to be proud. It's totally amazing! And such a tribute to your Bill.
I'll bet he can't stop smiling!