Yarn bombers decorate cherry tree at Historical Joy Kogawa House

The yarn bombers have struck again, and their target this time: the Historic Joy Kogawa House.

The local bombing duo Leanne Prain and Mandy Moore, wielding knitting needles and kilometres of yarn, set up in the house on Sunday afternoon. Authors, volunteers and community members streamed in to help knit cherry blossoms to adorn the cherry tree in the back yard.

“Joy Kogawa House has a writer-in-residence program, this [event] is basically to create public awareness about it,” said Jane Hutton, a local author who helped out with the event and also gave a short reading of her latest book Underground.

The program, started in 2009, hosts a Canadian writer to live and work in the house for three months each year.

“Ideally they enliven the local writer scene by being from out of province,” said Ann-Marie Metton, who helps run the Historical Joy Kogawa House Society.

Other authors also read for ten minutes at a time while experts and first-timers alike finished up their blossoms. Those that were knitted on Sunday joined dozens more created at previous community “knit-ins” held at the Joy Kogawa House, as well as one at Vancouver City Hall in February. Cherry blossoms were also made off-site by people from all over the United States and Canada and mailed in to support the event.

Even the local fire department came to pitch in  — firefighters, clutching handfuls of finished blossoms, carefully navigated the telescopic ladder of their fire truck to decorate the bare top of the cherry tree.

Yarn bombing, also known as knit graffiti, is the process of crocheting or knitting colourful designs that are displayed in public spaces as an artistic expression.

Prain and Moore are also authors, and wrote Yarn Bombing in 2009 that explores the phenomenon in greater detail. 

“It was started in 2005 in Houston by a woman named Magda Sayeg — she started a yarn bombing crew called Knitta, Please. It’s spread around the world since then,” said Moore.

“Neither of us started out as yarn bombers, we started writing a book about it because we’re both fans, and started doing it as part of writing the book.”

 

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