History of Crochet Coral Reef

An exhibit from Crochet Coral Reef.

The story behind the Crochet Coral Reef project

Global warming is destroying the ecology of living reefs. That’s what drove science writer Margaret Wertheim and artist Christine Wertheim, twin sisters from Australia, to create the Crochet Coral Reef project in 2005. They realized crochet has an amazing ability to mimic the mathematically unique forms of reefs while bringing crafting and science education together.

The Crochet Coral Reef calls attention to the devastation of living reefs due to climate change while exploring the beauty, science and vital importance of reefs through a community crafting art project. The Wertheims’ Crochet Coral Reef travelling exhibition has been presented around the world, inspiring community activism, environmental awareness, and math and science learning.

Margaret and Christine also founded and co-direct the Institute for Figuring, a non-profit organization that hosts the continuing evolution of the Crochet Coral Reef project.

Through a participatory program the sisters designed, more than 20,000 people have crocheted more than 40 community-based Satellite Reefs—from Chicago, New York, London and Melbourne, to other sites across England, Ireland, Latvia, Germany and the United Arab Emirates.

The Ontario Science Centre is currently building Ontario Satellite Reef—the latest addition to the ongoing global network of Satellite Reefs.

Header Photo Credit: Pod World – Hyperbolic, by Margaret and Christine Wertheim and the Institute For Figuring. Image by Francesco Galli for 2019 Venice Biennale.

About the Artists

Learn more about Margaret Wertheim and Christine Wertheim, co-creators of Crochet Coral Reef and co-founders of The Institute For Figuring.

The Ontario Satellite Reef

Learn how to crochet coral and have your work displayed at the Science Centre as part of the Ontario Satellite Reef.


Thumbnail images of the Crochet Coral Reef project courtesy of the Institute For Figuring. 

CIBC | Lead Sponsor, Crochet Coral Reef travelling exhibition and the Ontario Satellite Reef.

Lead Sponsor CIBC

The Crochet Coral Reef is presented in partnership with Margaret and Christine Wertheim and the Institute For Figuring.

Institute for Figuring