Sunday, August 19, 2007

Chicago Coral Reef

Last Tuesday I went to the Hull House Museaum's Crochet Coral Reef Project presentation, where all those people who attended the workshops, or heard about the project and crocheted their own piece(s) of coral reef could bring them all together and drop them off. The Doublestitch twins (Erika and Monika Simmons) also had a fashion show of some of the garments that are going to be in their new book coming out next fall.

I arrived a few minutes late due to parking, but luckily just caught the fashion show - it was really cute. Their patterns are simple, but fun, and I saw two that I really liked and would want to crochet. I also like that their patterns are not overly complicated, so even a beginner crocheter could attempt them. Plus if you're a more advanced crocheter, they are a great jumping off platform for more complicated designs. I've met both Erika and Monika, and they're really sweet and friendly and open. I think if you've met them, a designers attitude can make a difference when looking at their patterns. I can definitely see a bit of both of them in thier designs.

Then we sat down to listen to the presentation by Margaret Wertheim, one of the Institute For Figuring's co-directors. It was more in-depth then I had heard before, and really gave you a lot to think about. I'm no mathamtician, I feel like I hve a better understandign of hyperbolic planes and thier signifigance to mathamatics. I didn't realize before that these two women (Margaret and her sister Christine) started the Institute for Figuring - that's really amazing to me.
The part that I think hit me the most was seeing how their project has transformed. It began with some crocheted examples of hyperbolic forms, then turned into a homage to the Great Barrier Reef, and now is transforming into a symbol of how we need to take care of our environment and reduce our habits of overconsumption - especially where platic is concerned.
During the presentation, examples of the patterns that currents form in the Pacific Ocean, which in and of itself is a simple thing to comprehend, but where I was enlightened the most was understading that all of the plastic waste - from styrofoam to water bottles to plastic bags, is swept up in this current and forms a vortex? (not sure if that' the right word) of sorts and all the debris piles up in the middle of these currents. Most of the biodegratable parts eventually was away or form the ocean floor and settle. The plastic does not. It stays there and piles up, growing larger and larger, and will eventually become the only coral reef the future generations will see. that coupled with the fact that much of the styrofoam-type plastic absorbs the toxins in the water, and the animals that mistake it for food not only choke on the plastic, but also die from the toxins. It made me think about the amount of plastic I use in a day, and I know it won't make much of a difference, but I'm going to try to greatly reduce my use as much as I can. I already recycle, but from what i hear, very little of what I take the time to recycle actually gets recycled. It makes me sad. So I guess along with a cure for cancer, alztimers and many other diseases, I pray we'll find a way to use/eliminate/breakdown/truly recycle our plastic in this world.

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