Florida CraftArt presents:
St. Petersburg Crochet Coral Reef
A satellite of the Worldwide Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Project created by Margaret and Christine Wertheim of the Institute For Figuring in Los Angeles, California.
Location: Florida CraftArt Inc.
501 Central Ave. St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Exhibition Dates: June 8th –September 1st, 2012
Opening Reception: Friday, June 8th (World Oceans Day) 5:30-8:30pm
What began as an interesting idea involving the local community has inspired over 250 people from all over the world to create an art installation which will amaze all who come to see it. Florida CraftArt Inc. will present the St. Petersburg Crochet Coral Reef in its exhibition gallery from June 8th – September 1st. “The initial reaction to ‘crochet coral reef’ is often glazing over, but when people see the pieces which have been created, eyes open wide, hands immediately reach out to touch and we often hear, ‘That’s incredible!’” says Florida CraftArt’s Executive Director Diane Shelly.
The concept of the crochet coral reef comes from two sisters, Margaret and Christine Wertheim, co-directors of the Institute for Figuring in California. Margaret Wertheim, an Australian-born science journalist, first began crocheting in 2003 to try her hand at modeling hyperbolic space, the mind-bending geometry discovered by mathematicians in the early 19th century. She took her lead from mathematician, Diane Taiman, who discovered that she could explain this spatial concept through ruffled shapes created with crochet. Realizing that the shapes looked much like the corals on the Great Barrier Reef of their homeland, the sisters crocheted enough pieces to create an entire reef which first debuted inPittsburgin 2007. It has since traveled to New York, Chicago, Sydney, London, California and most recently, the Smithsonian and has inspired many satellite reefs throughout the world.
Florida CraftArt, which represents fine crafts artists from around the state, is spearheading the creation of the St. Petersburg Satellite Reef. The organization has been holding crochet classes and gatherings in community centers throughout the Tampa Bay area including Eckerd College, PACE Center for Girls, area libraries and the Museum of Fine Arts. Marine scientists from USF, NOAA, Tampa Bay Watch and other marine organizations located in the bay area are providing the expertise with programs which provide insights into the life and death of coral reefs, what affects them, and what we can do to preserve them.
The reef will fill the 1200 sf Florida CraftArt Gallery in downtown St. Petersburg. Over 250 contributors from around the world have made thousands of pieces forming a massive reef, including a bleached reef. Packages of finished pieces have come from countries as far as Germany, Mexico,and Canada, as well as contributions from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and all around the state of Florida. The joy of this project is that anyone could submit a piece, even those who didn’t initally know how to crochet. When asked why the volunteers liked working on this project, they responded with comments about the joy of creating, the community building that happened as diverse groups, including men and kids, gathered to crochet, the inclusive nature of the project and what they learned about coral reefs. Local crocheters have had such a great time working together on this project that several are forming groups which will continue meeting even after the project is completed.
Expect to see brain corals, star coral, a bleached reef, a secret grotto, fish, shells and watch out for rays, eels, an enormous octopus and lots of other surprises! The Pier Aquarium will also be displaying their live coral tank to showcase the real thing. During the course of the exhibition, there will be family activity days with scavenger hunts, art activities and information about our oceans.
Admission is free and open to the public.
To find more information about the St. Petersburg Crochet Coral Reef activities contact:
Florida CraftArt Gallery,
501 Central Ave., St. Petersburg
Monday-Saturday 10-5:30 & Sunday 12-5
2nd Saturday Gallery Walk open until 9pm
About Florida CraftArt, Inc. Florida CraftArt, Inc. is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization that represents fine craft artists from throughout the state of Florida. Our mission is to empower Florida’s fine craft artists, enrich the community and engage the next generation.