Thursday, January 12, 2017

Yarn Bombing in Tucson

The Yarn Bomber came to Tucson last weekend.
We took donated pieces
of which there were many
sent to the YarnBomber from Arkansas and Ontario
and Thrift Shops around the country
and embellished the larger ones with smaller ones
before attaching them together in building-wrap sizes.
We set up inside for small work and outside for the larger constructions.
Denizens, I have to say that there's lying on the concrete, bleeding to death, 
and there's lying on the concrete, sewing pieces of whimsy together,
and my brand-new-Holiday-Celebration-Tour-sneaker (over there, on the right) and I are here to tell you that this way is much better. 
 The Brit Who Hugs made pretend snow angels on her section as she agreed with me.  I was having too much fun watching her, and being glad about the fact that I was there to watch her, to stop and take a picture.  You'll just have to imagine our giant, life affirming, in-the-moment, smiles.  

Here she is, with her husband and Kid The Younger, working on the aliens' spacecraft:
What aliens?
These aliens.
(oh, for a better camera)
They sit on the roof of Tucson Medical Center's Hospital for Children,
ferried from Santa Barbara by Stephen Dunier, the YarnBomber, himself.
The installation was not simple.
Sizing and piecing together just the right colors and patterns and shapes and textures required an artists' eye in addition to lots of extra long zip ties.

The single afghan covering the single panel is, he said, his favorite piece.  
He said this after an emphatic "NO!" and while I removed the very long, very bright pink embellishment he described as: 
"You couldn't help yourself, could you?!?!"

Alone, it echoes the texture and the color of the building itself.

That's why he's the artist and I stuck to my whip stitches.
I admit it.  I was addicted to the colors.

I sat on the concrete on the anniversary of the worst day of my life and I measured and rearranged and stitched pieces like this:
I just kept on smiling, doing a nonsensical but eminently logical bit of whimsy on a sunny Saturday afternoon. It was perfect.

Yes, that's a Ninja Turtle above me.  
Every kid noticed him.
That gave me the opportunity to escort them and their parents out a little bit into the driveway so that 
they could see the aliens on the rooftop.
The pieces on the top weren't connected yet, but our audience didn't seem to notice.

I wondered who'd sewn all those granny squares together and if she was glad that her work was part of the LOVE section of the wall?
I wondered who'd cut and twisted all those plastic bags to make the first three pieces on the edge.  I stitched them together, faux yarn at its finest, and thought about sustainability and distribution of resources and then I just smiled.
It was the anniversary of the worst weekend in my life, in Tucson's life, and there we were, laughing and having a great time doing something that had absolutely no utilitarian value.  And it was good.  It was whimsical and beautiful and I know that Christina-Taylor and I would have had a lot of fun, being there together, which, of course, we were
I wanted to spend that time with purpose and connection.
I did.
I didn't know, but I soon found out, that there could also be joy.


  1. I am so grateful you had this incredible, color full, joy full day! :)

  2. Gorgeous and life affirming! wish i could have been there to witness it. BIG HUGS!!!

    1. It's up until Sunday. If you are in Tucson, drive past it on Grant, between Swanand Craycroft. You can see the aliens from the street.

  3. Replies
    1. He does most of his installations in the open spaces around Santa Barbara - a nice day trip for you and yours!

  4. I have seen yarn bombing, but never on this scale! And what a beautiful way to honor a tragic memory.


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