by Emma Powell
It only took two months for 50 Raleighites to knit 150 sweaters to adorn the trees of Glenwood South. Striped, zig-zagged, and made from every shade of the rainbow, the sweaters brought color and whimsy to passers-by.
Many of the handmade creations featured messages: “Celebrate art and nature!” or “It’s our hope that your heart will be warmed by our art!”
The positive-thinking knitters behind the installation ranged in age from 11 to 70. They gathered to knit with Donna Belt, founder of SpiritWorks art and writing studio. Nancy Gabauer, 70, was one. “I must say I have met so many people and am now doing Yoga and knitting class as a result,” she said. On Jan. 25, Gabauer and her fellow knitters knit their creations on to the trees themselves. Most sweaters stayed up until late February.
This kind of public art is not unique to Raleigh. Other “yarn bombing” installations have popped up around the world, including on light poles in New York and around telephone booths in London.
The Glenwood South Tree Sweater Project, sponsored by Glenwood South Neighborhood Collaborative, now plans to put the tree sweaters to practical purpose, combining them to create blankets for the homeless.