...with a side-order of yarn bombing, thankyouverymuch. To recap: the Arkansas Literary Festival invited me as a presenting guest author, and asked if I'd also lead a Craft Activism event. It took about a split second to choose yarn bombing, masterminded by the kniteratiLR . We decided to also make flowers from recycled sweaters as embellishments, giving non-knitters a break.
Not a problem! We also worried the weather'd be bad, that it'd be confusing, that we wouldn't have good materials...
Here's Patrice, my partner in crime. Really, more of a fun ringleader. If we ever pull a big heist she'll be the one with the excellent map with the duct systems schematic and the timing to get to the getaway car. I'll be the one...um...whatever, I am sure I'll be useful. Anyhoo, we had felted old sweaters, colorful buttons and Patrice scored a bunch of One Thousand Percent Old Nylon hand crocheted afghans at Savers Village. I've noticed people like to have directions, even for open-ended projects, so we made a handout and did some test-crafting, to keep calm the night before. We were worried that it was too "Make & Take" Nope, not a problem. The template & directions became a launchpad. Just liked we'd hoped.The table quickly filled. Recycled sweater flowers piled up, but then we worried we wouldn't engage a wider audience.Again,not a problem. Teenage boys! The most wonderful part is this: see the dude in the blue T-shirt? He'd said in a disdaining teen tough boy way that he didn't know how to sew, when I tried to hand him a needle & yarn to attach flowers. He said it in the same way one would back away from an offer to smell something rotting in the back of the fridge. His friend, the one you see giving him a hand said something like Damn, what do you mean you can't sew? Instantly turning it around, making it a desirable skill. Then he showed his friend how. Now that is some pretty cool craft activism, right there (also, they were lured away from video gaming to do this. Let that sink in..video games)
We moved outside to yarnbomb a small parklike area. This little girl will no doubt be the editor of Vogue Knitting someday. She was on task and delightful. When we were done, I observed that it looked magical, to which she replied" It looks like my kind of world."while sweeping her hands around the area. awwwww.
Meet Meredith Martin-Moats, folklorist, writer, editor, NPR producer and craft activist, who wrote about us in her excellent blog The Boiled Down Juice . It's full of interesting subjects that aren't us, too. Also, her twin toddler sons' stroller got yarnbombed as they passed through.
If you want to see even more from this day, hop over to CraftActivism, I put up a full slideshow.
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It'd be a shame to not mention how cool Little Rock itself is. Thanks to Patrice, I had a fab visit. She and her hubby Roy opened up their home, fed me deliciously, and put up with my endless chicken and bee questions. Turns out Patrice and I had the same job, years ago, but not at the same time, in Boston, at a photo agency. (I know, you really can't make up stuff like this). Even more satisfying than comparing notes about old bosses/co-workers was the fact that Patrice is a talented knitter. She has the good taste to have knit, and wears, many sweaters in my queue. ( I am sure you understand how great this is). When we had a teeny slice of free time, she gave me a tour of LR. Here's some of it, captioned.
The Clinton Library. Gorgeous architecture, fascinating presentation of recent history. Along with momentous world events, there was a display dedicated to handmade gifts that President & Hillary Clinton received, like the beaded necklaces. There's something so sweet and also so pop culture about all of it.Central High School, a place I knew from the old Life Mag photos from early days of the civil rights movement. It's beautiful, peaceful, still turning out graduates. Of all colors.Heifer International.