Crochet Coral Project
Alongside the ‘Coral: Something Rich and Strange’ exhibition (that I’ve written about here too, I’m a little keen), are a set of crochet workshops that in a way subsidise the installation of a crochet coral reef, as the objects made contribute to it. These workshops are part of an international community project unfussily called ‘The Crochet Coral Reef Project’, set up by Margaret and Christine Wertheim, directors of the Institute of Figuring, an ‘…organization dedicated to the poetic and aesthetic dimensions of science, mathematics and engineering.’ Starting out in the US, the project has now reached the UK and Australia, each community described as a ‘Satellite Reef’. And the installation in this temporary exhibition is Manchester’s ‘Reef’.
The idea of the workshops at the Museum therefore is to get the local community involved, regardless of previous crocheting experience. Therefore, as an intrepid student journalist I took it upon myself to discover the intricacies of crochet. Definitely intricate.
At the museum, in a small room adjacent to another full of obnoxious children eating crayons, was a tranquil circle of crocheting. I was given wool, a needle, some instruction from a very patient and experienced crocheter, and off I went for an hour and a half to produce the masterpiece before you.
Definitely something to contribute to the Manchester crochet coral reef, but there’s no doubt that I learnt how to crochet, if somewhat limitedly. The instructor was more than helpful and I even learnt a few different techniques, which I did try out but the aesthetic of them seems to have been lost in the mush of wool.
Besides this, knotting the wool was therapeutic and kind of meditative. Dealing with that miserable Sunday feeling I was sceptical as to how much patience I’d have with the task, but I couldn’t have whittled away the afternoon more productively or enjoyably.
My efforts may be meagre but perhaps you would be more inclined to make a hyperbolic crochet masterpiece that was worthy of exhibition. If you’re interested there are still workshops to come, and the project isn’t limited to the exhibition timings; contributions can be sent in as long as it’s made form acrylic yarn. On the 27th February there is an after-hours session from 6:30-9pm, where you can learn to crochet, or practise and talk with those more experienced, and I’ve also been told red wine will be involved, which could be the deciding factor. Happy crocheting!