Arty Girl: Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Opens Tomorrow

This is similar to what you'll see in Scottsdale tomorrow.
This is similar to what you'll see in Scottsdale tomorrow.
"Crochet Coral and Anemone Garden" with sea slug by Marianne Midelburg. Photo by Alyssa Gorelick.

So it's Christmas, circa 1989, and I'm opening presents with my three older brothers. The big gift that year was a left-handed baseball mitt for my brother, Alan. Everyone knew about it, including him. Because I told him.

I was with my poor, single mother, months prior, when she shlepped across town to track this item down at a price that fit her measly Christmas budget.

Now, in my defense, I blabbed this spoiler after much bribery on his part.

So he opened the present, faked enthusiasm and hugged my mom. Not two seconds after he pulled away from her, he blurted, "Lilia told me."

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Shame spiral to the max. I'll never forget the way my mother looked at me.

Needless to say, I've sworn off the business of ruining surprises.

That long-winded and somewhat unnecessary story wasn't told on this blog for my mental health (although it was therapeutic). I'm telling you this so you won't be mad at me for NOT taking photos of the unfinished Hyperbolic Coral Reef Project I saw in Scottsdale last night.

I originally thought I might do a sneak peak slideshow of the behind the scenes set-up for this installation, but the memory of my mother's disappointed and betrayed expression held me back. I think it will be better if you see it for yourself tomorrow, in it's completed state.

I want you to relish in that element of surprise.

The installation is a colorful and lively coral reef made of crocheted yarn. And, from what I saw last night, it's going to be stunning.

This project was created by the Institute for Figuring, headed by Margaret Wertheim and her twin sister Christine, and has been touring for the past three years. Every city on it's tour, including London, New York and Chicago, prepares for it's arrival by arranging workshops and calling for volunteers to create and donate crocheted coral. The installation (including Scottsdale's contribution) will make it's way to the Smithsonian in the next year.

I blogged about this a while ago to pimp the different workshops that happened in town in preparation for the reef. And I'm excited to report that over 200 volunteers contributed to this reef (no doubt, due to my brilliant blogging, right?). The Scottsdale portion alone is comprised of an estimated 2000-2500 individual pieces. It stands over 5' in some instances and takes up approximately 250 square feet.

Dang! Double thumbs up to Scottsdale!

You can see the result of this impressive collaboration tomorrow, at the opening reception.

And since the cat will already be out of the bag, I have no qualms about posting a slideshow...stay tuned to Up on the Sun for a link.

Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Opening Reception is Saturday, April 11th from 2-4 p.m. at The Gallery @ The Scottsdale Civic Center Library, 3839 N Drinkwater Blvd. Call or visit

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