365 Days of Earrings

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The inspiration for today's earrings was my visit to the unbelievable Smithsonian exhibit, "Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef: Art, Science, Community." My daughter Phoebe and I saw it on January 3rd. So many levels of wonder:

  • Coral reefs exhibit hyperbolic geometry, with ruffled shapes that maximize the feeding surface area of undersea filter-feeders
  • Some crocheting mathematicians (Dr. Daina Taimina at Cornell and Margaret and Christine Wertheim at the Institute For Figuring in Los Angeles) discovered that this medium  is the best way to model the hyperbolic patterns found in nature.
  • Hundreds of crocheters around the globe participated in making reefs like the one in this photograph.
I bought a pair of earrings at the exhibit; those I'll wear later in the year, on a day when I'll see Monica Neagoy, the math consultant who is mentoring us as we implement a new math curriculum.

I decided during that visit that I finally had a good reason to learn how to crochet. I've played around with yarn, a crochet needle, and book called Crocheting School: A Complete Course. It is translated from Italian, which may explain some of the quizzical looks I've given it over the past few weeks.

This morning, I decided to try my hand at small-scale crochet. Again, I took inspiration from the hyperolic coral reef exhibit: "Living organisms are always irregular. In order to achieve natural looking corals, you need to vary the rate of increase within the model. We encourage crafters to experiment for themselves."

My irregular pair: Perfect for another day at home!

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