‘Saratoga Springs Satellite Reef’ expands with in-person and online crochet programs

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY (July 22, 2021) — The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, which reopened to the public on July 10, is expanding its programming for the Saratoga Springs Satellite Reef to include in-person and online events. Scores of crafters and the craft-curious have already met online to crochet corals, and now participants will be able to meet in person. The first in-person event is a craft circle at the Museum on Saturday, July 31, from 2 to 4 p.m.

The Saratoga Springs Satellite Reef is part of the worldwide Crochet Coral Reef project by Christine and Margaret Wertheim and the Institute For Figuring. The_ Saratoga Springs Satellite Reef, which will be on view at the Tang in the exhibition _Radical Fiber starting January 29, 2022, will be made up of creations crocheted by members of the public, either working on their own or through the Tang’s public programs.

For the Saratoga Springs Satellite Reef, anyone can participate by crocheting hyperbolic structures, referring to an area of geometry whose crocheted models mimic coral-like ruffles. The project draws on the long historical connections, especially in the United States, between fiber practice and community building, and will connect hobby crafters, art professionals, and novice crocheters from Skidmore, Saratoga Springs, and global communities. Download the PDF brochure How to Crochet Hyperbolic Corals, which includes patterns for a variety of corals.

Participants are encouraged to craft, but anyone is welcome to join to listen and learn. Any style, material, or color of yarn can be used, and creativity and experimentation are encouraged! If you are brand-new to crochet, we recommend purchasing medium-weight (4) yarn and a 4–5.5mm (G/6, H/8, or I/9) crochet hook.

In-person events
The public is invited to drop in during any of the monthly Saturday afternoon craft circles at the Museum. Bring your own materials and works in progress, or start something new. Those who have never crocheted before can learn how. Participants can come and go at their leisure; registration is not required. The craft circles will meet on the following Saturdays:

  • July 31, 2–4 p.m.
  • August 21, 2–4 p.m.
  • September 25, 2–4 p.m.
  • October 30, 2–4 p.m.
  • November 20, 2–4 p.m.

Online craft circles
Every Wednesday from noon to 12:30 p.m. through December 15, Associate Curator Rebecca McNamara hosts an online drop-in crocheting session. Participants are invited to join at their leisure to crochet, chat, and create corals for the massive community art project. Register at tang.skidmore.edu/calendar each week for the Zoom link.

Online workshops
On two Tuesdays this fall, the Tang will hold online workshops that feature an introduction to the Saratoga Springs Satellite Reef project, instructors who will lead beginners in the single crochet stitch and more advanced beginners in patterns from the How to Crochet Hyperbolic Corals brochure, and a craft circle in which participants can chat as a group about projects, ideas, and questions. Register at tang.skidmore.edu/calendar for Zoom links. The workshops will be:

  • October 12, 7 p.m.
  • December 7, 7 p.m.

Once participants complete their creations, they can bring them to the Visitors Services Desk at the Tang or mail them with their name and email address and phone number to: Elizabeth Karp, Senior Museum Registrar, Tang Teaching Museum, Skidmore College, 815 N. Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. The deadline for submissions is January 15, 2022, though participants are welcome to submit their creations earlier. For those using the mail, please postmark your submission by January 5, 2022.

The Saratoga Springs Satellite Reef will go on view starting January 29, 2022, as part of the exhibition Radical Fiber: Threads Connecting Art and Science. Through contemporary art by a diverse group of intergenerational artists working in weaving, quilting, needlework, crochet, knitting, dyeing, and other fiber-based practices, the exhibition demonstrates how fiber practice has influenced mathematics, science, and technology.

All events, both in-person and online, are free and open to the public. For more information, call the Visitors Services Desk at 518-580-8080 or visit http://tang.skidmore.edu.

About the Crochet Coral Reef

The Crochet Coral Reef is project created by sisters Christine Wertheim and Margaret Wertheim of the Institute For Figuring. Residing at the intersection of mathematics, marine biology, handicraft, and community art practice, the project responds to the environmental crisis of global warming and the escalating problem of oceanic plastic trash by highlighting not only the damage humans do to earth’s ecology, but also our power for positive action. The Wertheims’ Crochet Coral Reef collection has been exhibited worldwide, including at the 2019 Venice Biennale, Andy Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh), Hayward Gallery (London), Science Gallery (Dublin), and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History (Washington, DC). The project also encompasses a community-art program in which more than 10,000 people around the world have participated in making more than 40 locally based Satellite Reefs—in New York, Chicago, Melbourne, Ireland, Latvia, UAE, and elsewhere. The Saratoga Springs Satellite Reef will be the latest addition to this ever-evolving wooly archipelago.

About the Artists

Margaret Wertheim is a science writer, artist, and author of books on the cultural history of physics. Christine Wertheim is an experimental poet, performer, artist, and writer, and a faculty member at the California Institute of the Arts. Margaret and Christine conduct the Crochet Coral Reef project through their Los Angeles–based practice, the Institute For Figuring, which is dedicated to “the poetic dimensions of science and mathematics.” The IFF is at once an art endeavor and a framework for innovative public science engagement.

About the Tang Teaching Museum

The Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College is a pioneer of interdisciplinary exploration and learning. A cultural anchor of New York’s Capital Region, the Tang’s approach has become a model for college and university art museums across the country—with exhibition programs that bring together visual and performing arts with interdisciplinary ideas from history, economics, biology, dance, and physics, to name just a few. The Tang has one of the most rigorous faculty-engagement initiatives in the nation, and a robust publication and touring exhibition program that extends the museum’s reach far beyond its walls. The Tang Teaching Museum’s award-winning building, designed by architect Antoine Predock, serves as a visual metaphor for the convergence of art and ideas. The Museum is open to the public on Thursday–Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. http://tang.skidmore.edu.

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