The Rapidian

Knitting parties create community involvement in bombing--yarn bombing

The members of Division Fibers have been working to spruce up Division Street, filling the gaps with yarn. They will continue to cover trees, poles and parking meters throughout ArtPrize.
Underwriting support from:

Attend a Yarn Social

During ArtPrize

Parliament Boutique

120 S Division Ave #120, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Mondays and Thursdays from 7 to 9 p.m.

 

For more information on yarn socials or Division Fibers, contact Elyse Welcher.

 

Division fiber yarn social

Division fiber yarn social /Amber Gerard

Division Fiber yarn social at Parliament the Boutique

Division Fiber yarn social at Parliament the Boutique /Amber Gerard

Taking the art to the streets

Taking the art to the streets /Amber Gerard

Since July, a group of locals called Divison Fibers have been getting together at Parliament the Boutique to knit in preparation for ArtPrize. They created yarn panels to place in the empty spaces throughout the street with an activity called yarn bombing. Since then they have covered trees, electric poles, parking meters and even an aloof cat named Amadeus. They've been knitting and crocheting for almost three months, and plan to continue throughout ArtPrize.

"We figured if artists can keep drawing, we can keep crocheting," says Elyse Welcher, owner of Parliament the Boutique.

While yarn bombing both sides of Division Street, many passersby have stared, complimented or made jokes about them 'keeping the trees warm,' but there is a different- and the group would say more logical- concept behind this group's art. 

"A big idea behind it," says Welcher, "was to generate conversations and discussions about everyday space that people otherwise wouldn't really notice or pay attention to. Also, to be a form of graffiti that makes a commentary about public space in a non-destructive manner."

They created the yarn socials in order to get the community involved. Local businesses and yarn shops in the West Michigan area have donated to their socials, which has helped keep them going. People from all levels of crocheting and knitting experience have joined the socials, even people who have never knitted or crocheted before. 

"We wanted to reach out and bring more people into the idea of the craft and that it can be art," says Welcher. Throughout ArtPrize, socials are held at the Parliament Boutique on Mondays and Thursdays from 5 to 7 p.m.

"You can come here and learn," says Amber Gerard, a Division Fibers artist. "Then what you make will get put right up on the trees."  

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