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Group Description

The Smithsonian Community Reef is a satellite of the worldwide Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Project created by Margaret and Christine Wertheim of the Institute For Figuring in Los Angeles. It was made possible through the support of the Quiksilver Foundation, the Embassy of Australia, and the Coral Reef Alliance.

Residents of the National Capital Area (DC, MD and VA), and anyone who loves the National Museum of Natural History, are invited to participate in crocheting coral for our local reef. Our community reef will be assembled under the guidance of the artists and displayed in the Museum along with the core collection of reef forms that will comprise the upcoming Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Project’s temporary exhibit in the Sant Ocean Hall at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History from October 16, 2010 through April 17, 2011.

This Flickr group will serve as a hub and “virtual reef” for our all-volunteer effort. Membership is open to anyone who wants to contribute crocheted coral to the Smithsonian Community Reef, discuss the project, or share images of their own hyperbolic reef creations. Please join us! We need your help to make our local reef a success!

Keep an eye on this page for opportunities to build your hyperbolic crochet skills, information about how to submit your crocheted pieces when the time comes, and announcements about upcoming events and gatherings related to the exhibit. For more information, or to receive update via e-mail, please contact

What is the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Project?

The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Project is a collaborative fiber art exhibition created and curated by Margaret and Christine Wertheim of the Institute For Figuring (IFF) in Los Angeles to raise awareness about threats to the world’s fragile coral reefs from global warming, pollution, development, and overfishing.

The Wertheims discovered that they could create an extraordinary likeness of a coral reef in crochet by varying a simple series of crocheted forms that were originally developed by Dr. Daina Taimina of Cornell University for use as mathematical models to demonstrate the principles of non-Euclidean geometry. With the help of many contributors who have joined in the effort, Margaret Wertheim describes the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Project as one that has grown from a "reef" to an "archipelago of reefs" as it has traveled around the world drawing together aspects of marine biology, handicraft, mathematics, environmental awareness, and community art.

Group Rules

1. Share images of your work, whether it’s completed or in progress, and help and inspire others by including details about your fibers, recyclable materials, techniques, and sources of inspiration. To get a sense of what to include with your images, please read the description on this example.

2. Draw inspiration from resources on the Smithsonian Ocean Portal website or visit the National Museum of Natural History to place the artistry of reef-making within the context of the cutting-edge research, conservation and education initiatives designed to preserve and protect biodiversity for the benefit of all.

3. Members will have many levels of ability – feel free to share your expertise or ask questions online.

4. Tell the group if you have learned something new! This project has the potential to create wonderful conversations between individuals who may not have otherwise crossed paths.

5. The artists are passionate about conservation and reducing household waste. We encourage members to buy locally; recycle, re-use and re-purpose fibers and other materials; and use reef-making as an opportunity to do something creative and beautiful with items that might otherwise be household trash.

6. Focus your creativity on making coral forms using hyperbolic crochet, crochet, or other related structural techniques, like knitting and looping, that lend themselves to hyperbolic construction. Fish, for example, may be difficult to construct hyperbolically or to display effectively and we cannot guarantee that we will be able to include them.

7. Please make sure all materials posted, whether images or text, are yours to post and appropriate for all ages. We reserve the right to remove any inappropriate images and to block any members who are breaking the group rules, harassing other group members, or otherwise misbehaving.

8. When you submit publically viewable pictures to this group, you acknowledge that your images may be pulled into a photo "feed" on the Ocean Portal using the Flickr API. See for example, the Flickr Feed on our Find Your Blue page. If you subsequently remove a photo from the group or change the settings on that photo to private, it will no longer appear in our feed.

9. If you have any questions, please email the group moderator at

Additional Info

  • This group will count toward the photo's limit (60 for Pro members, 30 for free members)
  • Accepted content types: Photos, Videos, Images, Art, Screenshots
  • Accepted safety levels: Safe
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