Mar 20, 2023

Remember when ‘yarn bombing’ became a thing in Arkansas?

Sometimes stitchy fingers get itchy, and a yarn artist just has to crochet a sock for a tree. Or knit wrappers for the stair railings. Or whip-stitch hundreds of intricate yarn squares into a quilt big enough to cover a historic bar in Fayetteville.

Less like a flash mob and more like temporary tagging, "yarn bombing" popped up across the nation in the first decade of this century. An article in The Conversation (see credits the impetus for an artsy-crafty form of civil protest to a Texas shopkeeper who in 2005 wearied of the urban bland-deur around her. She knitted a bright cover for her shop doorknob. Light-pole cozies and tree trunk sweaters followed; and the idea spread through knitting chatrooms around the world.

Arkansas examples abound. For instance, in 2010, yarn-bombers wrapped lampposts outside the Fayetteville Town Center for First Thursday. In 2011, The Yarn Dolls knitted and crocheted column clothes for the Nixon Library in Jacksonville in honor of national Knit in Public Day. In 2012, Robin Brown, head of adult programs at the Terry Library in Little Rock, wrapped stair railings in crochet. In 2013, artists at the old Arkansas Arts Center covered the building facade with yarn works as an installation.

In 2018, Gina Rose Gallina, along with members of the Eureka Yarn Bombs group, adorned trees and wind-chimes in Eureka Springs Music Park. When their work was vandalized, they replaced it with more and bigger works. In 2020, Gallina covered Maxine's Tap Room in Fayetteville with yarn quilt squares for its 70th anniversary. In 2022, "A Yard Bomb" volunteers decorated Bella Vista's Library, City Hall and Museum.

Why? Flinging a domestic, indoor craft out into all-weather public spaces has been explained as feminist rebellion, polite protest, viral marketing or just something funny to do with leftover yardage and good friends.

Print Headline: Remember when, Arkansas?

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