Thursday, 25 September 2014

Hyperbolic Crochet

Some of you may have heard of Hyperbolic crochet before. 

I became aware of it in 2008 when an exhibition of crocheted shapes made to resemble a coral reef were exhibited at the Haywood Gallery, London UK, where I was living at the time. The project, organised by the Los Angeles-based Institute for Figuring was a direct response to the plight of coral reef from pollution and global warming.

Hyperbolic plane where the repeat is increasing into every 5th stitch

Hyperbolic crochet is a pattern where one simply increases stitches at a regular rate in every row. The more often you increase, the more quickly the model will ruffle up. It is a pattern that replicates the geometry found in nature, such as the anatomical frills sea slugs and kelp. 

Double hyperbolic plane where the increase is one in every two stitches

 In 1997 Cornell University mathematician Daina Taimina finally worked out how to make a physical model of hyperbolic space that allows us to feel, and to tactilely explore, the properties of this unique geometry. The method she used was crochet.

Seed-pod model 

Recently it has been proposed that the shape of our universe is hyperbolic as well. 

Pseudosphere. Crochet in the round at the increase of one in every three stitches

As many of you know, my recent investigations and concepts in art focus on the Pioneer or Settler. And my interest in lichen was piqued when I undertook a residency at Hill End in 2013 and observed many different varieties growing around the area. I photographed them extensively and recorded a few here

My current thinking about this is that lichen can be seen as a metaphor for early settlers and pioneers. Indeed, it is even considered a pioneer plant itself.

So I am currently exploring ways of recreating lichen using various techniques. The hyperbolic plane crochet technique lends itself well to the idea, and I have undertaken some experiments using wool. My next step is to see what happens when they are immersed in a ceramic slip, or recreated using wire instead of wool.

If you would like to try making your own hyperbolic crochet forms, the pattern can be downloaded here.

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