As a communal endeavor the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef seeks to include people from all walks of life. To date over 3,000 women and a few men have contributed models. In cities where the ‘Core Reef’collection is shown – as here in the Science Gallery – Margaret and Christine work with local communities to make their own ‘Satellite Reef’. Satellite Reefs have now been made in Chicago, New York, London, Arizona, Sydney and Latvia. The newest addition to this growing archipelago is the Irish Reef, which is making its debut at Science Gallery.

Also on show here is most of the Latvian Reef which was produced during 2009 by more than 600 women and school students across Latvia. The Latvian Reef was spearheaded by Tija Viksna, a handcrafter in Riga. Other satellite Reef initiatives are currently underway in Melbourne, Perth, Indiana, Fukuoka and Capetown. The totality of these local initiatives is known as The People’s Reef and it is hoped that one day this vast outpouring of citizen creativity will be exhibited together as a whole.

The Reef Project engages expert crocheters and beginners alike. Participants so far include a sheep farmer in rural Australia (Helen Bernasconi), a science fiction writer in Seattle (Vonda N. McIntyre), a geophysicist in Santa Cruz (Heather McCarren), and a Hungarian costume maker in Liverpool (Ildiko Szabo). Among the Core Group of the Reef’s most committed contributors there are academics, mothers, mathematicians and students. While engaging women in a handicraft with which they feel comfortable, the Crochet Reef leads us into the worlds of mathematics, marine biology and two of the most pressing ecological issues of our time – global warming and the escalating tragedy of plastic trash in our oceans.