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Satellite Reef – Chicago

The Chicago Reef - at the Chicago Cultural Center, Fall 2007.
Photo by Aaron and Cassandra Ott.

The Crochet Reef project was conceived as a communal enterprise and from the beginning we dreamed about sister reefs spawning around the world. Living reefs themselves replicate by spawning: On a single night, timed to the cycles of the sun and moon in a process little understood, huge tracts of coral release into the water millions upon millions of eggs and sperm which combine to produce planula that float off as the "seeds" to form new reefs elsewhere. So too the Crochet Reef has been sending out spawn.


The first Crochet Reef offshoot took root in Chicago during the summer and fall of 2007. Under the auspices of the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, more than 100 Windy City residents came together in workshops and started making coral forms. Chicagoans young and old, male and female, experts and novices in the art of crochet, gathered in community centers, art studios, living rooms and yarn stores to learn how to fashion their own woolly wonders. This city-wide happening was spearheaded by Hull-House's mega-dynamic director Lisa Yun Lee ,and by Catherine Chandler, who acted as crafter-curator-and-wrangler-in-chief to this multi-tentacled marvel. Workshops were held at Hull-House, at the Lillstreet Art Center, at the Arcadia yarn-store and other venues. The Rainbow Angels Girls Crochet Circle - a committed group of teens - got involved. The result was the extraordinary "Chicago Reef," which was shown along with the IFF Reefs at the Chicago Cultural Center in late 2007 in a major exhibition held in association with the Chicago Festival of the Humanities, whose theme this year was "Climate of Concern".

Chicago Reef Contributors

Below is a complete list of all the fabulous contributors to the Chicago Reef. We would like to offer our most heartfelt thanks for all your marvelous work towards this project.

Jenny Abate, Nora E. Abboreno, Michelle Allen, Aviva Alter, Nikki Bank, Georgiana Barrie, Pamela Barry, Dana Benjamin, Cindy Bennish, Gwen Blakley Kinsler, Joyce Block, Kristine Brandel, Laura Braunstein, Addie Brorsen, Katherine A. Buggenhagg, enCatherine O'ConnorChandler, Cara Chidley, Zannoah Chodosh, Alma Chomsky, Pate Conaway, Christina K Court, Darinka D'Alessio, Rosa Linda DeLeon, Patricia Devine Reed, Pamela Dominguez, Sarah B. Ellis, Morgan Elmore, Barbara Ewing, Cheryl A. Flores, Hertha G. Fouch, Joan Fox, Sally Giles, Ona Gleichman, Andrea Gough, Avril Greenberg, Terri Griffith, Barb Grzybowski, Natasha Gutman, Mary Harney, Jamie Henderson, Melanie Hopkins, Katherine Javer, Evelyn L. Johnson, Rosalie Johnston, Ariana Jordan, Valentine Judge, Kathleen M. Kelly, Sharon Kelly, Katy Kelsey, Jennie Kimmel, Bethany Kinsler, Katerina Lauer, Tuyet Le, Lisa Lee, Lauren Levato, Cecilia Lewandowski, B.J. Licko-Keel, Emily Lifton, Elaine Lim, Amber Liu, Lisa R. Lowrance, Samantha Lynn, Anita Malinski, Aaron J. Mathews, Sally McDavid, Sally Lee McDavid, Judy Meza, Robin Millard, Rachel Mindel, Christine Montet, Cynthia Morgan, Catherine Murphy, Francine N., Takeo Nagasaka, Linda Nellett, Valerie Newman, Lindsay Obermeyer, Mary O'Connell, Susan A. Olsen, Lisa Orstein, Donna Palicka, Sandra Papp, Susan Paweski, Julie Radcliffe, Cassie Ready, Courtney Reid, Shelby Ricci, Carol Rosofsky, Amy Rosofsky, Tonya Rucker, Kim Rudman, Noram E. Salazar, Lauren Sanchez, Nina Savar, Naomi R. Schliesman, Jen Schuetz, Betsy Shepard, Erika Simmons, Monika Simmons, Mary Slaby, Pamela Slaby, Julie Smith, Jessica Stapp, Joanna Su, Marlene Tomasello, Alison Tunnicliffe, Ginny Tunnicliffe, Ivah Urbanski, Luis Vasquez, Faith Veenstra, Jennifer Walla, Joanna Weis, Lisa Whiting, Janie Winkler, Leigh Witt, Serena Worthington, Amanda Z

Members of the Rainbow Angels Girls' Crochet Circle
Dangela Booker, Samyra Booker, Julissa Campos, Sandra Coleman, Natasha Coleman, LaPrecious Davis, Dalia Gonzalez, Anna Kuiper, Mary Kuiper, Itati Lopez, Mercedes Merritt, Johnisha Redd, Cheryl Rogers, Patryce L. Shepperd

Crocheters at a reef workshop at the Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago - Photos by Lauren Levato.
At left are the fabulous Doublestitch Twins, Erika and Monika Simmons.

The Chicago Reef showing at the Chicago Cultural Center (Fall 2007). The Chicago Reef was spearheaded by the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, in conjunction with the Chicago Humanities Festival.

The Chicago Reef was constructed over a six-month period in 2007 by more than 100 Windy City residents. People from all walks of life participated in this magnificent communal project.

The Chicago Reef. Photos from the IFF Archive by Aaron and Cassandra Ott. All photos © The IFF.