Crochet Coral Reef Project

This page is a compilation of all posts related to the Crochet Coral Reef Project. Any and all ideas are welcome. 🙂

UPDATE: OOAK Crochet Coral Reefs are being added to the Crochet Buddies Online Store! Go there now to take a peek, and to purchase your very own coral reef set!


You may be wondering what a crochet coral reef is, or how it even started. At the structural level, the very method by which crochet corals are made is based on a mathematical concept called hyperbolic geometry. The pattern was integrated into crochet by Latvian mathematician Daina Taimina as a way to feasibly teach and visually demonstrate hyperbolic planes; transforming them from paper examples to three-dimensional objects. By incorporating a well-known handicraft into her university lectures, she was also able to turn the very technical skills into an art form, crocheting detailed and unique items for all to enjoy. (More information on Taimina and hyperbolic crochet can be found here.)

Margaret Wertheim and Christine Wertheim took the skill to a whole new level, when they founded the Institute For Figuring. They transcended Taimina’s technique and used it to make outstanding scientific and biological artifacts, specifically crochet coral reefs. The project itself within the Institute is the Crochet Coral Reef Project. To quote the website, it functions as an “intersection of mathematics, marine biology, handicraft and community art practice, and also responds to the environmental crisis of global warming and the escalating problem of oceanic plastic trash.” (Info available here.) Furthermore, they have featured displays that serve to inform the public about climate change, by actually crocheting WITH items such as excess plastic and newspaper bags, and crocheting bleached corals with white or lighter yarn to show the danger toxic waste can pose to the environment and biosphere as a whole.

People from all over the globe have sent in corals, jellyfish and other crochet items to be added to major museums displayed around the world. Take a look at this display featured at the Smithsonian. As you can see, the reef is MASSIVE. The exhibit is realistic, and captures the beauty of aquatic life, letting all who visit experience the natural wonder beneath the water’s surface. (To see more photos, search ‘crochet coral reef’ online and see what comes up! You’ll be amazed!)

The creative blend of scientific and mathematical aspects is truly phenomenal. Who would have thought a mathematical plane could be incorporated to make items out of yarn and a crochet hook? It’s incredible!

So, why draw so much attention to crochet reefs in the first place? Well, primarily because it’s fun, and a very amazing concept that shows how beautifully mathematical nature is (and something you should all try!).

The other reason is because I (Orchid) just so happen to have an immense interest in crocheting coral. Over the last 4 years I’ve explored various techniques and have had a wonderful time crocheting up quite a few corals (there are now over 200 coral items around the house, excluding the ones I’ve sold). By fiddling around with different patterns, color combinations, and so on, I’ve had the opportunity to expand on this brilliant skill and even create wearable accessories for kids, adults AND dolls. I’ve showcased my work at various Arts Festivals, and have contributed to a local crochet reef, which turned out splendidly (see photo at the top of the page). The whole experience has been terrific. I hope to pursue this creative endeavor for many years to come.

The Crochet Buddies Online Store features a wide array of handmade, one-of-a-kind original items and accessories for sale, crocheted at home by myself and by family and friends. In addition to the main usable and wearable items in the online store, I’ll be selling hyperbolic crochet coral reef items, for decorating and even wearing throughout the seasons. The patterns I’ve used to create these corals are inspired by hyperbolic crochet, but aren’t replicas of some of the more intricate designs out there. Therefore, they’re my original designs. Please note that this site and its contents are NOT in any way affiliated with the Crochet Coral Reef Project, Institute For Figuring, or other related areas.

I’m currently working on getting some corals and coral accessories ready to sell in the Store, and will let you know as soon as they’re available. If you have any questions or would like to purchase items that show up, please fill out the form on the Contact page.

Over the course of the next year or so, I’ll be posting articles inspired by the Crochet Coral Reef Project on this page; stuff you all can try at home, in the workshop, or anywhere. There will be DIY projects, free patterns (and patterns for sale), tutorials, photo stories, travelogues, and tons of other things.

Until next time!~