Crochet Reef Project



One of the wonders of the natural world, the Great Barrier Reef stretches along the coast of Queensland like a psychedelic cacophony of color and form unparalleled on our planet. But global warming and pollutants so threaten this fragile monster that scientists now believe the reef will be devastated in coming years. As a homage to the Great Reef sisters Margaret and Christine Wertheim instigated a project to crochet a woolen reef. The sisters, who grew up in Queensand, have been heading up the project since 2005, quiety watching as it has morphed into an unexpected and far-reaching wordwide movement.

Loopy “kelps”, fringed “anemones”, and curlicued “corals” have all been modeled. The quality of yarn, style of stitch, and tightness of the crochet all affect the finished forms so that each is as individual as a living organism. As a whole, the Crochet Reef is made up of many different “sub-reefs,” each with its own colors and styling: these include the Bleached Reef, the Beaded Reef, the Branched Anemone Garden, and our largest work, The Ladies’ Silurian Atoll, a ring-shaped installation with close to 1000 individual crochet pieces made by dozens of contributors around the world. 

In addition to these woolen reefs is the massive Toxic Reef crocheted from yarn and plastic trash – a part of the project that responds to the escalating problem of plastic trash that is innundating our oceans and choking marine life. This is an amazing and topical project that brings to light the amazing creative abilities and vision of so many skilled artisans from across the world.

– Sionen