Explosions of fibrous color will drop near the historic downtown area leading to The Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center as part of a trendy exhibit that features yarn. Event coordinator, Sophia Fernandez Healey, does not anticipate casualties. The only stitches will be at the skillful and artistic hands of a group of craftspeople that will invade the Hoag Gallery.
Yarn bombing is a recent art form that some agree began in Houston, Texas when boutique owner, Magda Sayeg, adorned the doorknob of her store with a stitched cover. Now yarn bombing, also known as guerilla knitting, aims to cover public objects in knitted and crocheted attire, many times under the guise of night.
Often the pieces take on a political and artistic message, marrying textures, colorful zigzags and patterns with cold, lifeless things. It’s a cross between organized religion and Fight Club, with rogue gatherings happening in houses, coffee shops and arcane basements. The bombers strategize patterns and hunt for that tactile release.
Fernandez Healey hopes to introduce yarn bombing, a craze that has taken off in big cities, to Pueblo. She wants people to realize that “knitting has been a craft associated with aging and tradition. Yarn bombers take that idea, by still keeping the integrity of the craft, but place it in the total opposite environment: on the streets, in dark alleys, right up there on the walls with the spray paint. It is such a naughty thing.”
The exhibit will not only introduce an unorthodox art medium to Pueblo, but it will help warm those in need come cooler weather. The shrapnel from the bombing will be crafted into blankets and donated to both Posada and the YWCA of Pueblo. Extra yarn will also be used to benefit the stitching skills of individuals who might not be able to afford materials.
The Grimms’ Fairy Tales theme at The Buell Children’s Museum is at the heart of the Hoag Gallery design. Fernandez Healey and Co-General of the Yarn Bomb Brigade and fellow conspirator Amy Boswell have brainstormed, calculated and gestated the idea of creating a magical forest. Pulling inspiration from the adventures of Hansel and Gretel, the artists want to create an ominous space that redeems into an enchanting and unassuming gingerbread house.
Beyond that Fernandez Healey says, “We love the idea of then escaping the gingerbread house into this surreal candy forest where we could actually use the more vibrant yarns to transport the viewer there.”
The craft has morphed into cupcakes, candy canes and looming forests. It’s not just about the sweater, doily or potholder. It’s installation art. Boswell adds, “It’s a bit whimsical and fun to find the unexpected around the corner.”
June is the ideal month to showcase Pueblo’s stitchers. June 11th is National Knit Bomb Day, and National Knit in Public Day is recognized from June 9th through the 17th. There will be two events for the Pueblo exhibit. Saturday, June 2nd will kick-start the process with a musical guest. A second event on June 15th will mark Pueblo’s celebration of Knit in Public Day and show the completed communal exhibit. The Changing Colors and Laura Goldhamer will perform. If you’re not a fan of stitches and rows, you will definitely want to attend these two nights just for the musical talent alone.
Unlike most yarn bombings, the display at the Arts Center is an open invitation to demonstrate the process of the art. Anyone can join the stitching process now and throughout the first couple of weeks of June. If you don’t know how to knit or crochet, someone will even teach you during gallery hours.
Like the knit and crochet world, this is a communal process with yarn donations and help from Karen DeQuardo and Winnie Soester at Colorado Fiber Arts, The Twisted Stitchers, The Yarn Bomb Brigade of Pueblo and the community at large. PACE and Cycle of Life will represent the bike community with an anticipated yarn bomb bike ride. Keep an ear to the ground!
As a craft that began as a means for human protection against the environment, what political, social and artistic message does yarn bombing uncover with its cloaking of inanimate objects found in our everyday environment? Join the brigade at the Arts Center to find out.
by Felicia M. Tapia