Earlier this summer, I signed up to be one of the 57 artists in the Ripple Yarn Project. The project was created by two local artists, Adria Arch and Cecily Miller, and the installation is along the Minuteman bikeway in Arlington Center. We were assigned specific measurements to knit or crochet a piece to cover a portion of a tree using a bright and bold color palette, but were [almost] totally free to do whatever design we wanted. The exhibit will be up for six months.
When I first began planning my design, I was still really into doing triangles (like this hat project) so I made large ones that were 20×20 stitches. My finished piece had to be 20″x48″ which was – I’ll be honest! – way more work than I anticipated!
I switched to slightly smaller triangles and implemented more of the white yarn to create the broken up design, much like a ripple breaking the triangles down to a smaller size. In the end, the tension in my work got really tight and the finished piece puckers in places that I’d rather it not (sigh), but I’m glad it’s finished and a part of such an amazing collaborative effort.
There was a lot of planning that went into the project, and a really wonderful feeling of community whenever the contributing artists gathered during the summer. People shared ideas, praised each other’s work, and encouraged one another along the way. We got together one day to lay out the finished pieces along a hill to see how they would be pieced together on the trees, and it was awesome to see it all come together.
Two arborists installed the pieces onto the trees using really tall ladders as they hung from cables. E and I went over to watch a little bit of the installation after school. Adria and Cecily decided to spread some of the pieces out onto surrounding trees based on their finished sizes, and I love how it extended the colorful palette even more. People were stopping to ask and talk about the exhibit, and it was great to hear conversations about public art. The oohs and ahhs were also neat to hear!
I feel lucky living in a place where public art is so greatly appreciated. Our town, Arlington, was recently designated as a cultural district. I can’t wait to hear of more projects and displays of public art in the future, and hope to be a part of some of it again.