Beginning in April hikers can expect a bit more color on the trees at Woodcock Nature Center. An artist known only as the “Yarnbalmer” has installed crocheted yarn art along a familiar section of Woodcock trail. Visitors will enter the main trailhead located across from the nature center building and, only a short distance in, will be greeted by a grove of 14 brightly wrapped trees.
The installation even features silhouettes of some familiar forest creatures and beloved Woodcock animal ambassadors which will be sure to charm both first-time and returning visitors.
“We are always looking for new and different ways to encourage our community to experience nature. We are thrilled to welcome the warm, colorful, whimsical art of Yarnbalmer and hope everyone finds time to visit this spring,” Woodcock’s executive director Lenore Herbst said.
The work was commissioned by Wilton and Ridgefield Magazine and will be in place at least through this summer. The Woodcock trails are open daily from dawn to dusk. Visitors are also encouraged to explore the nearly four miles of trails, unique nature playground, and outdoor aviaries that are part of Woodcock’s 150-acre public preserve.
Just who is Yarnbalmer
Knitting from the tender age of 13 or 14-ish, Knitiot Savant–aka Yarnbalmer–kept out of typical teenage trouble as she indulged in her worsted remnant collection for experimental sweater concoctions. A textile designer who escaped fashion only to be sucked back into it made fiber art her modus operandi as her means of expression. She has embraced yarn work as her latest journey.
Knitting also has given her a way to harness her anxiety during the pandemic.
“What began as small signpost cozies has become colorful messages of inspiration and hope. It gives me a sense of invincibility to sneak out at night and hide my work in plain sight,” Yarnbalmer explained. “The response I have received in my own community drives me to bring this special attraction to other areas.”
She has even created a special name for the effort: “Project aKNITdote.”
“It is an ongoing mission to redirect energy away from the unfathomable and try to keep my family’s and community’s gaze on something positive and happy. I set out to release aKNITdote to the public as a way to interrupt or at least change the conversation. The seriousness of world affairs in every arena, albeit important to discuss, sometimes requires a balance for levity and perspective. Yarnbalming offers a comfortable, benevolent, humorous relief from all that is reality,” she added.
Yarnbalmer strikes at random but has been moving towards a more comprehensive model of creating groupings of yarn bombs, which becomes an installation of sorts. Past targets have included popular jogging routes, secret pathways, testing sites, and hospitals.