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Best Craft as Art Phoenix 2009 - Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Project

Billed as "a woolly celebration of the intersection of higher geometry and feminine handicraft," April's "Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Project" — the brainchild of Margaret and Christine Wertheim of the Institute for Figuring (IFF) — turned out to be so much more than that. The Wertheim twins are not only artists, but scientists and writers as well — who better to meld art in a traditionally feminine form with hardcore mathematics, geometry, biology, and ecology?

Their crazily colorful, 2,500-foot coral reef, constructed entirely of crocheted materials (including those obnoxious plastic bags that are such a pain to recycle) oozed over, under, and through the Scottsdale Library's gallery, evoking the real, living, breathing thing. Of course, the danger posed to the world's coral reefs by pollution, including that produced by those damn virtually indestructible plastic bags, is underscored by the project, which was realized with the help of over 200 local volunteers. "Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Project" turned out to be the consummate, water-evoking oasis when our legendary heat arrived this summer.

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