Maria van Gass has worked in art, design and architecture for twenty years. She currently co-ordinates the community environmental awareness project WARP, a project affiliated to the Institute for Figuring in Los Angeles and the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef project (HCCR), for which crochet techniques are used to create excessively crenelated surfaces that resemble coral reefs.
In 2002 Van Gass obtained a Bachelor in Technology Degree in Fine Art from the Durban University of Technology, specialising in sculpture. She completed a Masters in Philosophy Degree in Energy Studies at the University of Cape Town in 1995, focusing on domestic energy use in informal settlements. Prior to this, she attained a Bachelor in Architecture Degree from the University of Pretoria (1975).