Plarn Octopus and Coral Reef
by Dede McGrath
(Floyd, VA, USA)
I have been crocheting for many years, and have been crocheting with “plarn” for about two years. I normally make tote bags that can be used for grocery shopping, carrying items, etc, but in 2012 became involved in a community-wide craft project sponsored by the Roanoke College in Salem, VA.
The project was to crochet and construct a coral reef. The Roanoke Valley Reef was a collaborative project which merged the talents of contributors from Roanoke College, the Roanoke Valley area, and beyond. The interdisciplinary exhibit was displayed at Roanoke College's Olin Gallery from January 25 through March 1, 2013. The Roanoke Valley Reef was a satellite reef of the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef, a project of the Institute For Figuring in Los Angeles. The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef has been exhibited in museums and art galleries around the world, including the Natural History Museum of the Smithsonian. The project combines mathematics, the arts, environmental science and other disciplines in an exciting way.
Pollution is a major problem for coral reefs, and to highlight this, a part of the Roanoke Valley Reef was a "toxic reef" exhibit. Pieces in the Toxic Reef were crocheted from plastic grocery bags, plastic spiral binding, and various other non-degradable plastics that are increasingly poisoning the Earth's water.
I like critters so decided to crochet an octopus for the reef. Kelly Lynn Smith has a fantastic crochet octopus pattern on her Etsy site. Using Kelly’s pattern, I crocheted three octopi for the reef. Then, on a whim, decided to see if I could do an octopus in the “plarn.” It came out beautifully and was placed in the center of the “toxic reef” like he owned it. Here are two pictures of the octopus and the “toxic reef.” (Pictures are courtesy of wdbj7 in Roanoke, VA.)
The octopus was made completely of plastic, including using the excess handles and other pieces from the plastic bags when making the plarn as the stuffing for his head.