Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Letter From Margaret

Dear All

I am writing because we have received emails from concerned Reefers and Crafters in NYC about a project that is being undertaken by ABC Carpet and Home in Manhattan. ABC is a large company that manufactures carpets.

In recent days they have announced on craft blogs and sites that they are crocheting a coral reef to exhibit in their storefront windows on Broadway. They are calling for crafters throughout NY area to get involved in this "community project" and make their Reef happen by April (next month).

Their announcements make no reference to the IFF and our long-standing Crochet Reef project. Nor do they acknowledge that there already is a NY Reef that has been exhibited at two NYC window-front locations - at Broadway Windows (NYU) and the beautiful Winter Garden at World Financial Center. Lion Brand Yarns - a major yarn manufacturer - are also getting behind the ABC project and have donated hundreds of balls of yarn. All this is being done as a kind of corporate raiding. ABC contacted me several weeks ago and asked about showing the whole Reef Project. An ABC executive had seen my talk about the project at the recent TED conference and was deeply impressed with the Reef. Instead, they have taken the idea and decided they can do it on their own. They are claiming it is their idea.

Christine and I would like you all to know that we do not sanction this project and we resist this usurping by a commercial company. ABC are also attempting to take crafters for a ride - they asking artist "volunteers" to give their skill and their time freely to promote a commercial company. The IFF is a tiny organization and we have little power to intervene in this effort legally, but we believe the power lies with the craft community. We urge all of you who can to send out word on the craft blogs and website to resist ABC's enterprise.

In one way this event is heartening: it highlights the power and value of the Crochet Reef Project. If a large company like ABC feels it is worth taking there must be something truly worthwhile here. We believe there is and I am happy to announce that the Reef has been formally invited to show at the Smithsonian. It is the first time the Natural History Museum will show an art project - so it's a huge honor. It is also with great joy that we can say that in addition to the already existing NY Reef, Chicago Reef, and UK Reef, there are now community-based Satellite Reefs coming into being Scottsdale Arizona, Sydney Australia, in Latvia and in Toronto. The project continues to grow virally. [Information about all these Reefs will be up soon on the IFF website.] Christine and I are always happy to work with genuine community groups on the project, but it is not to be done for commercial purposes and we encourage all crafters Not to participate in ABC's endeavor.

with best wishes
Margaret Wertheim
Co-creator of the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef

Margaret Wertheim
Institute For Figuring
PO Box 50346
Los Angeles CA 90050