Monday, April 30, 2012

craft activism goes literary in Little Rock AR!

...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.Yarnbombing at Arkansas Literary festival
We worried no one would join us.outside
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, 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" Yarnbombing at Arkansas Literary festivalNope, not a problem. The template & directions became a launchpad. Just liked we'd hoped.Yarnbombing at Arkansas Literary festivalThe table quickly filled. Recycled sweater flowers piled up, but then we worried we wouldn't engage a wider audience.yarnbombombinsideAgain,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 games)
.Yarnbombing at Arkansas Literary festival
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.Meredith_gz
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.
clintonLibrarycompThe 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.CentralHigh_gzCentral 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.
Detail of a statue in front of Heifer International.
And the Big Dam Bridge, which as you might guess, was built on top of a dam. It's a long pedestrian bridge over the Arkansas River connecting two riverfront parks, in Little Rock & North Little Rock.


Mary Lou said...

What a blast! Teenaged boys having to adjust the cool factor - priceless.

GMmom said...

I'm the mom of the girl who was so thrilled to be there. Gabi is ready to yarn bomb the world!

gale (she shoots sheep shots) said...

GMom, so glad you saw this, adn I'm sure you'll share it with Gabi. Go look at the slide show on the Craft Activism site, there are more of her there ,

Marla McLean, Atelierista said...

I love the teenage boys and the girl who said "this is my kind of world". It's wonderful when all the experienced craft activists get the opportunity to pass the torch a bit. Congrats, looks like a fantastic yarn bomb and experience. Wish I was there!

Stacey said...

I have been wanting to do a yarn bombing on part of the New Haven Green as part of the Arts and Ideas festival. I wonder if we can't do something like this as a project with Knit New Haven?

Jan (jcoop on ravelry) said...

This is the most awesome blog post I've read anywhere in a long time. Thanks for sharing all the deets with us!

craftivore said...

Color, color, color, LOVE.

Gerri in St Paul said...

Thanks for taking the time to write this all up! It just made me happy, happy, to know that some teen age boys redefined cool to participate and that some children still get to live in a world like that!

In honor of your southern post, one of my non-robot words was "callyall", as in Call, y'all.

Patrice said...

Why did we worry so much? It was great fun to have you visit!

twinsetellen said...

I suddenly have the urge to yarn bomb a ram at Shepherd's Harvest. Wanna join me?

(cool post!)