Crochet tree trunk cozies and yarn leg warmers made for brass elephants are some of the graffiti art projects with which Palmer and other yarn bombers have decorated the city of Jacksonville.
“Hey, there’s beauty in this world and sometimes we forget,” Palmer said, regarding her work with Yarn Bomb Jax. “So we put the unexpected into these public spaces that make you go ‘Oh! Oh my gosh!’ and then, all of a sudden, you see what’s there again.”
Last year, at the 2013 One Spark festival in downtown Jacksonville, Palmer saw a two-dimensional yarn bomb exhibit on a fence on Laura Street submitted by another creator. Shortly after, The Jax Yarn Bomb group came together and Palmer is now the successor to the founder of the group.
Now Palmer wants to incorporate an educational component as well. Her goal is to be able to offer free classes at a location for any artists who work in the fiber arts: knitters, weaver and other fiber artists. She hopes that it can be place where people can come and hang out and experience each other’s art.
Palmer also wants to offer beginner’s lessons for people looking to learn the basics of the craft of knitting, in hopes of teaching them a lifelong skill.
“I’ve been knitting since I was 8 years old … once you learn how to knit you’re pretty much good for life,” Palmer said.
Palmer first heard about yarn bombing several years ago from a group that did the artwork in Houston. She said that it immediately sparked her interest; however she didn’t get the chance to fully take part in the art form until recently.
The theme for “Rabbit Holes” is Alice in Wonderland and Palmer, along with several other volunteers, will decorate the city with colorful knitted and crocheted yarn art. Palmer and her team chose Alice in Wonderland as inspiration because of its whimsical nature.
“We’re trying to use the whimsy of Alice in Wonderland to really push the boundaries of what people would expect from knitting and crochet,” Palmer said.
These colorful knitted art pieces can be seen around the city of Jacksonville only momentarily. Like other graffiti art styles, these exhibits aren’t meant to last for longer than a few weeks and in some cases a few days. It is up to the artist to go back and remove the pieces, or sometimes the property owners of the spaces in which this artwork is done.
Unlike graffiti however, the yarn used in this street art is very easy to remove. Also, these projects are planned. These knitted and crocheted pieces are worked on for weeks before they go up in the public spaces.
“When I first saw it I thought ‘whoa! This is cool!’ I had never seen anything like this before, it just made me want to touch it,” Jessica Fields said concerning the parking meter cozy located in front of the downtown Jacksonville library. “I kind of tried to take it off, but I decided to leave it and just look for more around the city.”
Reaction to the yarn street art has spanned from enthusiastic to disdain, but Palmer says that it is never one of indifference. The yarn bombing often elicits some type of emotion, and Palmer assures that at the end of the day, that’s what art is all about.
This story was reported by Ignite Media, an independent news bureau created by University of North Florida students.