Sunday, October 05, 2014

Yarn Bombing the Environment Centre

Caitlin, quietly absorbed in yarn bombing
The Waikato Environment Centre recently located from a cramped, dark, upstairs office in the centre of town to a spacious, light-filled storefront plus warehouse in a busy shopping area near my house. To celebrate their new home they held an open day on Saturday.

I'd already visited a couple of times and noticed the big windows criss-crossed with ugly security bars. I'd also been thinking, since my epiphany at the People's Climate March, that I wanted to put some positive energy into this wonderful new resource in my neighbourhood.  I woke up Friday morning with the inspiration to yarn bomb the window bars, and turn a defensive, unwelcoming blemish (to my eye) into a fun, warm, quirky and welcoming feature.

 I turned up with a basket of brightly coloured yarn from my stash and offered my yarn bombing services, which were accepted.  Choosing the simplest (but slow) method of covering things with yarn, I was wrapping yarn in the corner by the worm farm display.  This was unfortunate, as people kept asking me questions about worm farming and my experience is dismal, having neglected my worm farm once I got chickens, until the worms disappeared.  Luckily the Environment Centre worms were vindicated when my friend Alice gave a well attended talk about worm farming at midday.

In turn, I asked everyone if they wanted to have a go at yarn bombing, but most of the adults declined. Eventually a little girl called Caitlin agreed to help and stuck with me for over an hour, completing a whole section by herself. She was patient and meticulous and persisted til the end. I was really impressed- not many adults I know have that kind of focus.  She also developed a nifty knotted variation on my simple wrap. We discussed the difficulties of sewing clothes to fit toys, how Skype baffles dogs and cats, Taiwanese pop singers and loom bands (I had no prior knowledge of the latter two topics).

Later, after Caitlin went home with her grandmother, I was joined by Brenda, who persuaded her grandchildren to join in, so there were four people working at once.   Meanwhile, I went and checked out all the other Open Day activities: live music, a talk about chicken keeping, sausage sizzle, the overloaded swap table*, badge making, seed planting and DIY cleaning and cosmetic products...  When I returned Brenda's family had made great progress with the yarn.

Brenda and her mokopuna yarn bombing
Altogether we covered about 20% of the window bars, so there will be more yarn bombing to do at future events.  We'll need more yarn, and I'd love more helpers, but it feels like a great start to a fun project. And, although it doesn't photograph well from the outside with all the reflections, the yarn bombed windows are eye catching, even speeding along the busy road. Look out for them if you are going through Five Cross Roads.

* I swapped in a bag of cabbage tree fire starters and came home with multiplying leeks, a rose geranium, comfrey roots and three lemons.