With the global climate change and pollution affecting most coral reefs in the world, some people have started their own fight against the process that is damaging our most precious marine resource. Christine Wertheim and her sister, Margaret, have started a project which fuses art with science, mathematics and handicraft, in order to create a unique display which resembles the amazing living corals. Their Crochet Coral Reef has grown into an international movement that not only displays spectacular art forms, but it also mutates and grows into something more which may reach more and more people around the world.

Crocheting marine life forms

Christine and Margaret Wertheim may be living in Los Angeles, but they grew up in Queensland, a place from which the Great Barrier Reef can be seen. They were saddened to see this amazing live structure be affected by world pollution and climate change, and so they have started their own project to recreate many of the coral reef species right in their own home. They combine art with simple patterns and algorithms to give life to crochet corals. These result into mathematical forms that can then be changed by altering the algorithm.  They have managed to create anemones, sea slugs and loopy kelps with a mix of art, mathematics, natural science as well as a lot of dedication. Visit crochet coral reef study thesea.org for more information.

Evolving into something much more

What started out as a small project to fill a coffee table has evolved into something much larger. The two sister went from creating a few basic coral forms to building large gardens or crochet ecosystems. The Crochet Coral Reef project has also expanded, reaching other parts of the world where enthusiastic members have contributed to realizing impressive representations of the world’s largest marine life forms. Thus the Crochet Coral Reef has become an evolutionary experimental as well as a way to express concerns about global warming and human activities that harm our environment and lead to coral reef losses. There are many exhibitions in the world, including the Bleached Reef, the Kelp Garden or The Ladies’ Silurian Atoll – an installation composed of more than 1,000 individual pieces. There is also the Toxic Reef that is crocheted from waste materials such as plastic and which tries to sound the alarm to the problems created by trash ending up in our oceans.

 The Crochet Coral Reef project promises to grow in the future and attract more members, and maybe at some point it will manage to make a change for the better and protect our coral reefs from destruction.