A community coral reef

By Carol Frohlich, Indianapolis Crochet Guild

It takes a community to make a coral reef? Yes! And the Indiana Satellite Reef of the Crocheted Hyperbolic Coral Reef is truly a community art project. In partnership with the Indianapolis Crochet Guild are library groups, a Brownie troop, The Caring Place (an adult day care facility), musicians from the Indianapolis Philharmonic Orchestra, Girl Scouts, staff and volunteers from the Conner Prairie fiber and textiles group, the Franklin Weavers and Spinners, Fishers High School knitting club, Riverside Junior High School, homeschoolers, Avon Junior High School, Indiana State Museum patrons, staff and volunteers. All together, more than 100 people from ages 6 to 92 are crocheting for a cause!

Recently, 16 inmates of the Indiana State Women’s prison, under the supervision of Anna Brown, joined our efforts. These women have made hats and blankets for the community, as well as many of the volunteer scarves for Super Bowl 2012. They seldom receive credit. Cindy DeCamp and I proposed the reef project to this group in June and these women were thrilled to show what they can do. The excitement was palpable! Three weeks later, Cindy and I were brought to tears by the beauty of what these women had done. A mermaid, a treasure chest filled with gold and jewels, trees, fish on dowel rods “swimming,” a dolphin, a sunken ship, an angel fish complete with a fish hanging out of its mouth. They created tree-like structures by coiling paper and then covering them with yarn.

We gave them some coral patterns, but most everything they made was done without a pattern and no special instructions as most everyone crochets in prison. Plastic hooks are the norm. All supplies are donated. Their workroom is an old home economics room, overflowing with projects. Each time we go we take extra supplies for these women. They made us feel so at ease as we crocheted together. We talked about our families, and the things we like to make for them. We heard many positive comments about this unusual project. So much inspiration came from these women dressed in beige!

Margaret Wertheim, the creator and founder of the hyperbolic crocheted coral reef, sent a box of brochures showing other reefs and the women were thrilled as they saw what is being done worldwide and knew they are now a part of it! I only wish these women could see the exhibit! We’ll take tons of photos and make a DVD for them. Their names will be on the donor banner with all the rest of the crocheters!

On our next visit, we’ll take additional booklets from the Institute for Figuring showing the math behind these amazing spheres.

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Honoring Hoosier Heroes: We want your photos!

Once again, we are preparing our annual Veterans Day program. In addition to a public conversation with former WASP Marty Wyall, a concert with the Indianapolis Municipal Band and various demonstrations, we will also continue with our community photo mural and we need your help.

It’s really very simple: you e-mail us photos of friends or family who have or are currently serving in the military, and we print and post those photos to our Heroes from the Heartland display board at the museum. We welcome photo submissions of grandfathers, brothers, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles or friends – basically anyone you want to recognize that has some sort of tie to Indiana. The photos can be in uniform or casual, taken while serving or before or after serving.

The 2009 Heroes from the Heartland display at the Indiana State Museum.

The community photo mural will be displayed from Nov. 2 through 11. Electronic photos will be accepted Aug. 1 through Sept. 30. Due to limited space, we will only be able to post the first 300 photos received on the display board and we are limiting photos to one per person (meaning that you can submit more than one photo, but they have to be of different people). All photos will be included on the museum’s Facebook Fan page and on Flickr.

Please e-mail photos to Eric Todd and include the following information:

Date of service
Branch of military
Hometown or Indiana connection: 
Submitted by

*Photos should be between 150 and 300 dpi at 100 percent.

In addition, from Nov. 2 through 11, the Indiana State Museum is offering FREE ADMISSION through the Blue Star Museum program to veterans and active military personnel and discounted admission to their families.

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Workshops will have you in stitches

For the second year in a row, the Indiana State Museum is presenting the Stitch in Time workshops. Last year’s workshops focused on the museum’s quilt collection and quilt conservation and were very successful. This year, we aim to take a twist and focus high fashion as well as conservation topics.

Stitch in Time: Funky Hats features Indianapolis milliner Emily Clark in a two part workshop. On Aug. 14 from 10 a.m. to noon, Emily will focus on the history of women’s millinery using examples from the museum’s hat collection. From 1 to 3 p.m. Emily will bring the world of couture hat fashion directly to you. The afternoon session will allow participants to construct their own 1940s inspired cocktail perch hat. Participants will receive a piece that does not require blocking but will allow for embellishing with feathers, flowers, ribbons and veiling. Basic sewing skills are required. Interested? Then don’t forget to bring your own needle, thimble and scissors!

Have you, or are you, getting married? Or perhaps you just celebrated a christening? Then you will be interested in our Stitch in Time: Ghosts in the Closet workshop. From 9 a.m. to noon, museum conservator Gaby Kienitz will show you how to conserve and preserve your wedding or christening gown. Participate in a frank discussion about re-using that family heirloom for a new special occasion. Additionally, learn cleaning and storage options for modern wedding dresses and get small samples, supplier lists and Internet resources.

Registration is required for both workshops! Please call 317.232.1637 to reserve your spot today.

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