Guerilla Knitting Bursts On The Scene At Clermont Estate
By Lisa Green
Sheeptaculars — those community-wide events in which large acrylic sheep are painted, installed around the town and auctioned off for a good cause —are so yesterday. These days, in Rhinebeck, it’s all about wool and whimsy.
Enter the Yarn Burst at Clermont State Historic Site. A cross between an art installation and a happening, the grounds at Clermont are now displaying knitted and crocheted yarns sewn on or around the benches, statuary, trees, gates and even cars transforming them into cheerful, sometimes “crazy quilted” statements. If you can walk through the yarn-grafittied estate and not crack a smile, you best go back to bed and wake up on the other side, stat.
This Yarn Burst is the brainchild of Conrad Hanson, executive director of Friends of Clermont and Cindy Mautner, owner of Classic Cleaners in Rhinebeck. While Hanson was picking up his dry cleaning one day, he and Mautner began talking about the Livingston family (Clermont’s owners) and their introduction of merino sheep to this country. Mautner had heard about a yarn bomb in Pittsburgh, and plans for the Clermont Yarn Burst began unraveling.
Other organizations quickly joined in. The Perfect Blend Yarn and Tea Shop and a group from Rhinebeck Hooks and Needles, Yarns and Threads, based out of the Tivoli Free Library, signed on. J&J Tree Specialists created and donated 24 sheep silhouettes ready to be adorned. Seniors, school groups and other community members put their knit wits together and added their creations to the fiber event. “This is a true example of grassroots community participation in an event at its best,” Hanson says.
Organizers even researched which types of yarn were safe on stone, wood and metal to ensure no dyes would leach into the surfaces on which the yarn was placed.
The installation is ongoing and everything is scheduled to be “fully bombed” for the Chancellor’s Sheep and Wool Showcase on Saturday, April 19. Hanson says he anticipates The Yarn Burst will remain up for one to two months, depending on Mother Nature and the condition of the pieces.
Who says historic sites can’t be fun?
A bit silly?
Or even dignified?
Clermont Gardens and Grounds, open year round 8:30 a.m. – Sunset
Sheep & Wool Showcase
Saturday, April 19, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Shearing, spinning, dyeing, knitting and weaving demos, exhibition of various breeds of sheep, wool artisans and shops, music and food.
$8 per car event fee, Friends of Clermont, $6.