Michelle Atkinson puts the finishing touches Tuesday on the crocheted yarn enveloping the posts of the gazebo near the downtown. Ms. Atkinson spearheaded the project, organized with the Sylvania Community Arts Commission’s blessing. Ms. Atkinson said she hopes to make it an annual event.
The city of Sylvania is wearing its love for art on its sleeve this winter season. Horse-head hitching posts, railings, signs, and other structures got some new threads for the first ever Sylvania Yarn Bomb.
More than 40 people came out for the outdoor installation Saturday morning, wrapping objects in the downtown district from Monroe Street to Main Street with hand-stitched yarn sleeves.
Yarn bombing is a type of graffiti or street art in which knitted or crocheted yarn is used for displays rather than paint or chalk.
“I think its super-duper cool. It was raining when they did it, but there were a bunch of kids helping out. It pulls the community together,” said Jodi Dennis, who works at Chandler Cafe.
PHOTO GALLERY: Sylvania Yarn Bomb
From the drive-through window that serves car-bound customers, she can see the horse-head hitching posts that line the drive, all covered in various yarn designs.
“It’s nice for Chandler Cafe to have an accent up and down the avenue. And it's a way to celebrate Sylvania and art,” she said.
Down the street at the Mini Park, located at Maplewood Avenue and Main Street, Michelle Atkinson donned mittens and yarn equipment, whip-stitching the last rainbow-colored pieces onto the wooden gazebo posts Tuesday. Spearheading the project for the Sylvania Community Arts Commission, she and her fellow crocheters have been using the winter months to create the yarn pieces.
Even the feet of park benches didn't escape the yarn bomb. Forty people turned out Saturday to cover everything they could inyarn. The display is expected to remain up for about two months.
Those bleak winter months are what inspired the project, which is adding a touch of color in the most unusual places — from tree branches to door handles.
She was unsure if the cold weather and rain Saturday would deter people from participating in what she called a nonpermanent form of graffiti, but the turnout was more than expected and the people “loved it.”
“We even had a Girl Scout troop come with their dads. I liked seeing the dads go ‘all right, let’s go,’ with no prior training,” she said.
In all, more than 150 pieces were created, with 50 of those dressing the iconic horse-head posts that dot downtown. One piece came from as far away as a participant in Norway, she said.
Leading up to the event, the arts commission hosted skill shares, where knitters of all levels and ages were invited to learn the fabric-making technique.
Mrs. Atkinson hopes to continue the project next year, and possibly ask artists to make their pieces independently, and then exhibit them on their own. She also plans to send some pieces from this year’s exhibit, which will be on display until April 1, to yarn bombers overseas.
The pieces would be displayed with “Sylvania” stitched on it to let yarn comrades know where they came from.
A visitor from Perrysburg on Tuesday was at first unsure about the wrapped posts in front of the downtown shops.
“At first I thought it was a warning not to park there,” said Elizabeth Clarke Horrigan. But after some explaining from her friend and Sylvania Township resident Randi Monaghan, she found the art charming and inviting.
“It’s a cheerful welcome,” Ms. Clarke Horrigan said.