Sunday, 20 July 2008

Hyperbolic Crochet Jam

I have never been a keen crocheter (pron. crotchetter? crowshayer?); this and other crafts such as needlepoint, quilting and macramé have never really impinged on my life to any great extent.

Nevertheless I was intrigued by an event with the above title which took place in the Clore Ballroom at the Royal Festival Hall on 21st June, as follows: "...Join a mass of fellow crochetters for live music, crochet and chat. Limited materials are provided, but bring your favourite yarn, hooks and used plastic bags". This sounds a real gas (sixties slang seems appropriate here), and I am sorry that I missed it; had I heard in time, I might well have gone along to it with a rollicking yarn and some plastic bags, though I would have had to borrow some hooks.

This may all sound rather unlikely: why did crochet come to the Royal Festival Hall? Clearly, I must explain further. The Los Angeles-based Institute for Figuring has organised a project called The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef, "...a large-scale constantly mutating series of hand-made crochets that replicate the forms of natural coral ...Fusing science and mathematics with fine art and handicraft, the reef is constantly updated by an ever-expanding group of participants from around the world". There is currently an exhibition of the project at the Hayward Gallery on the South Bank.

This is one of the exhibits, and here there are photos of some of the others, which should be viewed by anyone who finds it difficult to imagine being fascinated by a display of crochet. We saw it by chance, having wandered into the Hayward Gallery to fill in a couple of hours; this exhibition was free, otherwise we might not have bothered.

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