Sunday, February 1, 2009

hyperbolics in plastic and the oceanic travels of shopping bags.

pictured above is the beginning of a hyperbolic model i have been working on made entirely from plastic bag yarn. this is for an upcoming project (that will find its way into the window of the knit cafe) spearheaded by angelune des lauriers and intended as a craftivist earth day project.

angelune has assembled a group of crocheting friends (including shannon, kalpna, leah, marnie, myself and others) to make these plastic models, aping the oceanic forms of corals and other sea animals. the notion is to assemble a great plastic reef as a way to bring attention to the great pacific garbage patch (also known as the trash/garbage vortex or garbage island). this fetid new continent, located somewhere between the hawaiian islands and the coast of california, is reported to be twice the size of texas and is composed prominently of discarded plastics. it weighs an estimated three million tons and has resulted from a combination of ocean currents and collective carelessness (although i'm not sure quite how much we should blame the ocean). other reports note the area to be more like a massive garbage stew (as opposed to one contiguous garbage heap) which might explain why google earth doesn't just simply display this 'island.' regardless of these details, there is much agreement that this is a big mess and it's our fault.

so what is there to do? well, currently, i have decided to crochet plastic coral in the hopes that someone smarter will see this project, be alerted to the ocean's ordeal and brilliantly solve the problem. i know it's not the most active choice, but it's better than freezing in a state of absolute confusion and doing nothing at all.

and what can you do? if you are a genius, you can figure out how to fix this problem and make the world okay again. if you are not a genius (or if the above task is going to take you a while), you can drop off your colourful plastic bags at the knit cafe to be turned into yarn and then crochet models. for me, the ideal bag is ripped and unusable. i can still work around most rips when making the yarn and don't need the handles at all. this also makes me feel that the bag has been used to its maximum ability.

i should also mention that this project is highly derivative of some incredible past works, most notably the hyperbolic coral reef conceived by the institute for figuring to address issues of marine coral blanching and the later plastic bag sea crochet of helle jorgensen. in the name of education, these undertakings seem open to future interpretations/incarnations but props are certainly due. go check out their sites.

on a more pragmatic note, i have also learned that bamboo hooks and plastic yarns do not mix well. be forewarned, lest you suffer the same fate as me. i'm glad i hung on to all my metal hooks.


Anonymous said...

Fantastic project! :)

sweetie pie press said...

thanks, summer! it owes much to the work of others.

crocheting with plastic is so rigorous that i find myself picking this project up every time i feel angsty. the process just devours my stress (or some of it).