Baden-Baden Satellite Reef

January 29, 2022 – June 26, 2022
Museum Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden, Germany
coral reef garden

Visual inspiration for Baden-Baden Satellite Reef

Institute For Figuring – Christine Wertheim

In 2022 the Crochet Coral Reef will be exhibited at the Museum Frieder Burda in a gallery-wide installation highlighting the scientific, mathematical, and environmental dimensions of this unique global project. Associated with the show will be a Baden-Baden Satellite Reef, created by the people of Germany. This community-made artwork will be exhibited alongside the Core Collection of crochet reefs created by artists Christine Wertheim and Margaret Wertheim.

Museum Frieder Burda and the Wertheim sisters invite all German crafters – wherever you are – to contribute to the production of the Baden-Baden Satellite ReefEveryone who participates will have their names displayed on the gallery walls and in the exhibition catalog. This new reef will be a novel collaboration between the Wertheim sisters and the German reefing community. On this page are inspirational images to give you ideas for color and form. Our imaginations have been sparked by the discovery of an ancient “pinnacle reef” recently found far out in the Pacific Ocean beyond the Great Barrier Reef.

For colors: We specifically want corals in the following colors: a whole range of purples, mauves, and lilacs, including deep rich tones and light pastel shades. Also dark blues, blue-greens, aqua, and off-white; plus highlights of bright-pink, bright-orange, bright-yellow, and some neon green and lime green, but not forest green. “Variegated” yarns are excellent and make for a more natural effect than solid colors. You can also think about edging your pieces in different colors, and creating pieces with many different layers or entwining of color.

For shapes: You can begin with the classic ruffled forms of “hyperbolic” crochet that mimic the frilling surfaces of many real coral species. (See here to download a PDF guide to hyperbolic crochet.) However, not all corals are hyperbolic, and we also want other shapes, including those of “staghorn corals” (branched structures), “tube-corals” (like anemones), and “plate coral” forms. Use your imaginations, go wild. We want to be surprised by your brilliance. This website contains a wealth of information and images spark your creativity, and we encourage you to explore it for ideas.

For yarns: Many different types of yarns are good for crocheting coral forms. We use wool, silk, cotton, soy-yarn, homespun, mercerized-cotton, acrylics, synthetics, and many other fibers. Fine wire works wonderfully, although it’s hard on the hands. We also encourage people to experiment with plastic threads of all varieties – many interesting plastic fibers are now available in craft-stores. You can also try cutting up plastic bags to make “plarn.” Like living reefs, any crochet reef is a diverse ecology, so the more disparate the range of materials the better.

For scale: We imagine this reef will be large, with a collection of individual coral mounds up to 2 meters high. To create the best effect we want pieces at many different scales: from several centimeters to as large as you like. Again, diversity is the key to aesthetic delight.

To participate in the Baden Baden Satellite Reef see this webpage on the Museum Frieder Burda site for where to send your finished coral pieces. [ADD LINK to MFB BBSR page]
Museum Frieder Burda - logo

Images on white background  –  individual coral mounds


Above: Coral mound with “staghorn coral” protrusions at right, and “cup corals” on upper left side. Below Left: Blue coral mound. Below Right: “Cup corals” that can be used to fill areas on various coral mounds.