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Urbana Champaign Crochet Coral Reef 2019-2021

Urbana-Champaign Crochet Coral Reef at the Siebel Center for Design September 23- Dec 16, 2021

September 23, 2021 Margaret Wertheim Public Lecture. The co-creator of the original crochet coral reef gave a lecture about the intersection between coral, art, math, and science at the Spurlock Museum’s Knight Auditorium on the University of Illinois Campus.

See the Gallery for additional installation images.

This is an archive of our 2019-2021 Project. Please see for current crochet coral exhibitions and satellite projects by Margaret Wertheim.

June 2021. We are proud to announce that we are recipients of an Urbana Public Arts Grant. This grant will allow us to extend some workshops and pop-up exhibits into the Urbana community

Keep making! We definitely need more coral! We hope many of you have been enjoying making with us through our zoom sessions or on your own. Our original deadline was March 26th and we would love to see how much we have so far, so we welcome you to drop off or send us coral by the end of the month. We will be using the coral we receive to create a few pop-up exhibits to help raise awareness of the project and encourage more of our community members to make coral and contribute to the reef. We want our reef to be as big as possible. The final deadline for coral is now Sept 1st 2021.

Please continue to look at our website and Facebook page for more updates on workshops and opportunities to get involved in this project.

UIUC launches the Urbana-Champaign Satellite Reef, Part of the worldwide Crochet Coral Reef project by Christine and Margaret Wertheim and the Institute For Figuring.

The School of Art and Design invites students, alumni, community members, and friends of the university to participate in creating a crochet coral reef. We are launching this project with an online artist talk by Margaret Wertheim, co-creator of the Crochet Coral Reef, and are also launching tutorials to teach participants how to begin crocheting their own corals that will be collected and exhibited at The Seibel Center for Design in April 2021. We may be able to offer some in person outdoor tutorials. This site will be used to publicize all offerings and events.

The Crochet Coral Reef: Intersections of Math, Science and Art through Hyperbolic Crochet

Image:Margaret Wertheim in the Fohr Satellite Reef at the Museum Kunste der Westkust, Germany.

Margaret Wertheim is a writer, artist and curator whose work brings together art, math and science as evidenced in her Crochet Coral Reef, a worldwide project created through hyperbolic crochet. In this lecture Margaret will introduce the UIUC community to her work with the Institute for Figuring, a collaborative Los Angeles based practice she runs with her twin sister Christine Wertheim. Highlighting the “aesthetic and poetic dimensions of science and mathematics,” the sisters design art & science exhibits for galleries and museums around the world. Their Crochet Coral Reef is a global participatory endeavor that sits at the intersection of craft, geometry, community-art and environmentalism. The work has been seen by more than two million people and exhibited at the 2019 Venice Biennale, the Smithsonian, and many other places. Margaret will discuss the interplay of art, science, and art as social practice within the Crochet Reef project, while also promoting UIUC’s very own locally made Urbana-Champaign Satellite Reef, opening at the Siebel Center for Design in spring 2021.


Margaret Wertheim’s work focuses on relations between science and the wider cultural landscape. A two-fold perspective animates her thinking: on the one hand science can be seen as a set of conceptual enchantments that delight our minds and senses; on the other hand science is a socially embedded activity intersecting with philosophy, culture and politics. Wertheim aims to illuminate both dimensions of science and mathematics through her books, articles, lectures, workshops, and art, which has been widely exhibited nationally and internationally.


School of Art + Design Visitors Committee, the George A. Miller Visiting artist fund and Millercomm lecture series, sponsored by the Center for Advanced Study; the Frances P. Rohlen Visiting Artist Fund, the School of Art & Design, the College of Fine and Applied Arts, the Krannert Art Museum; the new Siebel Center for Design; The Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology; Champaign School District Unit 4; Stratton Academy of the Arts, Urbana Park District, the Urbana Free Library, Art Coop, and Jane Addams Book Shop.

Margaret and Christine Wertheim’s Crochet Coral Reef

Participate in the Urbana-Champaign Satellite Reef

The School of Art & Design at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has invited Margaret Wertheim to teach us how to construct our own satellite coral reef. Due to COVID-19, Margaret Wertheim will not be able to be here in person this fall but we will have a video presentation and tutorials available here on our project site (see link in the upper right corner). We invite current students across the campus, alumni, the Champaign-Urbana community, and friends of the University of Illinois to participate in this project through watching the tutorials and creating a piece of the coral reef. We will hopefully bring Margaret Wertheim here in the spring for the installation and opening celebration of our Urbana-Champaign Satellite Reef.  The installation will be an accumulation of all of the individual pieces created by the particpants and will be on display at the new Seibel Center for Design.

Submit your Coral

This will not be possible without all of you contributing to our satellite reef. Individuals who wish to participate should add a label to their pieces with your name, address, and contact information. All participants will be recognized in the display of the Urbana-Champaign Satellite Reef. If you prefer not to have your name publicly noted, please let us know. The length of the exhibit has not yet been determined, but we would like to return all submissions at the end of the exhibition. Send your finished labeled pieces to UIUC Art & Design Crochet Coral Reef, 408 E Peabody Dr, Champaign, IL 61820

Image: Hyperbolic model crocheted from plastic by Siew Chu Kirk for the Crochet Coral Reef.
Images © the Institute For Figuring.

Please e-mail project organizers with any questions: Guen Montgomery, & Jennifer Bergmark,

All Images © the Institute For Figuring.

Math + Art + Crochet + Science + Environmentalism