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Help to crochet a coral reef for Helsinki

The Helsinki Satellite Reef is an artwork that will be created for the Helsinki Biennial together with residents of Helsinki. It is based on the worldwide Crochet Coral Reef project by Australian sisters Margaret and Christine Wertheim. Pieces of coral reef will be crocheted for the artwork, and the individual pieces will be assembled into one work of art in spring 2021. You can help to create the work of art by crocheting sections of coral and returning them at one of Helsinki’s libraries by 7 March.

NB. HAM Helsinki Art Museum is closed until 28 February 2021 due to the coronavirus restrictions.  We will give instructions on how to return your crocheted corals by the end of February.

How to participate:

  1. Crochet sections for the coral reef. You can create your sections any way you like, by using chain stitch or by creating more complex structures.
  2. Return your sections of coral at one of Helsinki’s libraries. You can check the libraries’ opening hours here.

The packs of materials handed out by HAM contain recycled plastic. You can also crochet the sections of coral reef using plastic materials and natural materials found at home, but please don’t use plastic and natural materials together in the same section. The crocheted sections will be combined into two different works, one of which will be made from plastic-based sections and the other from natural materials.

Helsinki Satellite Reef is based on the worldwide Crochet Coral Reef project by sisters Margaret and Christine Wertheim and their Los Angeles-based Institute For Figuring. The Crochet Coral Reef is one of the world’s largest participatory science and art projects, drawing the public’s attention to climate change and the plastic waste that threatens the world’s oceans.

The project combines mathematics, environmental activism, marine biology and handicrafts. Within the project, the Wertheims work with citizen participants to create large-scale crocheted installations that imitate vibrant, colourful coral reefs through collaborative processes. This communal creativity highlights not only the damage humans do to the Earth’s ecology, but also our power for positive action.

Satellite reefs” of the overall Crochet Coral Reef project have been created in over 40 cities and countries around the world, including New York, London, Riga and Abu Dhabi. To date, more than 10,000 people have participated in crafting this vast woollen archipelago. Now, Helsinki Biennial is bringing the project to Helsinki, too.

Photo: Margaret and Christine Wertheim and the Institute For Figuring. Coral Forest at Lehigh University Arts Galleries (PA). Photo courtesy LUAG by Stephanie Veto.