A Different Kind of Art: Eastside hosts a temporary synthetic fiber exhibition | Messages

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Eastside Park is known for its springtime cherry blossoms. This year, however, those blooms won’t be the only thing adding color to the park.

“It’s called yarn bombs,” said Kim Herbertz, executive director of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, commonly known as RSVP. “This is what Jeanie Burkes and her daughter saw in Bloomington. There, the art exhibition is being used as a fundraiser for the Middle Way House. Here we just do it for fun.”

Burkes said her late mother, Ruth Dickmann, loved to crochet.

“She always had to have something on hand. She made a lot of granny squares and these were assembled into blankets. My daughter and I were walking down Kirkwood Avenue and saw this lady attaching crochet art to trees.”

Burkes happened to have one of those Granny Square blankets with him that day, and the woman who carefully fitted the pieces happened to have a tree that wasn’t decorated.

“The pieces are fixed in such a way that they do not harm the trees. We checked with an arborist,” said Burkes, who is already working on a special piece for the Washington show. “By then I hadn’t crocheted in a while. It was fun to start again.”

Not just for prolific fiber artists, Burkes and Herbertz emphasized that the event is one that novice fiber artists can also attend.

“No, you don’t have to have any experience,” said Herbertz. “We actually have a group that meets to knit and crochet on Thursday afternoons. They would love to help anyone who wants to learn.”

Pom poms and poppies are just some of the options people can make.

“Pom poms are easy to make,” says Herbertz, and adding leftover yarn is easy to use for projects like this. “But there are other things you can do. We hope to involve the schools as well.”

Businesses and organizations also have the opportunity to get involved by either creating or commissioning a piece for the exhibition.

Cherry blossoms and poppies are two of the quicker and smaller projects.

“We have patterns for both, and we even have the yarn for the poppies if anyone is interested in making them,” Burkes said.

Acrylic yarn works best for the pieces.

“Acrylic yarns hold up best for these types of displays,” says Herbertz.

Burkes tested a few pieces in her garden earlier this year.

“They looked just like they did when I unwrapped them,” Burkes said. “I took them off and washed and dried them and they held up beautifully.”

The indicator starts to rise in mid-March and comes down in June.

“The people we’ve spoken to about this so far are all very excited,” Herbertz said. “It’s just going to be a fun event for our community.”

While everyone is welcome to participate, Herbertz said those planning to make a piece should contact RVSP so they know approximately how many pieces to install on the trees, fences and around the park .

Those interested in learning more about Yarn in the Park can attend an informational meeting at the Eastside Park Community Building on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. Call 812-254-1996 for more information.

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