Baden-Baden Satellite Reef

June 2021 – June 2022
Museum Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden, Germany
coral reef

Visual inspiration for Baden-Baden Satellite Reef

Institute For Figuring – Christine Wertheim

From January-June 2022, the Crochet Coral Reef will be exhibited at Museum Frieder Burda in a gallery-wide retrospective highlighting the scientific, mathematical, and environmental dimensions of this global interdisciplinary project. In conjunction with the show will be a Baden-Baden Satellite Reef, crafted by the people of Germany. This community-made artwork will be a unique curatorial collaboration between German coral reefers and artists Christine Wertheim and Margaret Wertheim who have been inspired by the discovery of an ancient “pinnacle reef” in the remote Pacific Ocean east of the Great Barrier Reef.

Museum Frieder Burda and the Wertheim sisters invite all German crafters – wherever you are – to contribute to the production of the Baden-Baden Satellite Reef. Everyone who participates will have their names displayed on the gallery walls and in the accompanying exhibition catalog. See here for the launch of the project in Burda Style magazine. Send us your corals by the end of November 2021 to be incorporated into this marine wonderland. Below are color and shape suggestions to spark your imaginations.



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.


You can begin with the classic ruffled forms of “hyperbolic” crochet that mimic the frilling surfaces of many real coral species. (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.


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.


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 Museum Frieder Burda’s project webpage for how to contribute, and where to send your finished pieces. All contributions will be included in the exhibition Wert und Wandel der Korallen (The Value and Transformation of Corals), Jan 29–June 26 2022,

Museum Frieder Burda - logo

Individual Coral Mounds

coral reef

Coral mound with protrusions of “staghorn corals” at right. On the upper left side are “cup corals.”

coral reef

Blue coral mound.

coral reef

“Cup corals” that can be used to fill areas on various coral mounds.