Ann Savageau’s Design 70: Introduction to Textile Structure class created a yarn bombing installation in the Australian section of the Arboretum. It serves as a colorful and whimsical artistic addition to Davis’ public natural space and invites visitors to interact with nature.
Yarn bombing is a public art that involves placing knit and crocheted fabrics in public spaces as an artistic or sociopolitical statement. However, Savageau’s purpose for the yarn bombing assignment was more artistic and educational than political.
“I had two main purposes, one was for my students to learn to crochet and knit, and the other was to make an outdoor installation as a nice way of transforming natural objects,” Savageau said.
An additional yarn bombing installation can be found in the trees, railings and cement overhangs in front of Cruess Hall. Students were assigned various trees to work with either in groups or individually, wrapping tree branches with colorfully knit patterns, crocheting spider webs, stringing pom-poms, wrapping stones and creating three-dimensional objects like mushrooms and flowers.
Carol Shu, a Master of Fine Arts graduate in design, facilitated the installation of the students’ knit fabrics in the Arboretum.
“It was a fun project where the students could do whatever they wanted, pick any trees they wanted to cover, with very few restrictions,” Shu said. “They were encouraged to be flexible and creative, and the lack of restrictions resulted in a whimsical explosion of colors.”
Design 70 student Megan Streeter, a fifth-year textiles and clothing major, was excited about making a colorful statement on campus and in the Arboretum.
“We hope to communicate art as a presence that makes the campus colorful and fun,” Streeter said. “It was cool to decorate public spaces that everyone gets to see.”
As a gateway space between city of Davis and the university campus, the Arboretum was glad to host this colorful public work of art that draws attention to the natural landscape in a dynamic way.
Elaine Fingerette, the academic coordinator for the Arboretum, commented on the yarn bombing as a welcome addition to the GATEways project.
“GATEways stands for Gardens, Art, and The Environment, and it is an initiative that encourages people from the city to come into the Arboretum and the campus,” Fingerett said. “The yarn bombing contributes to this initiative by helping visitors form a relationship with nature and to think about their role in the environment. Thinking about the environment opens the doorway to considering how our lifestyle affects the planet. The colors and patterns highlight elements of nature that we wouldn’t normally see before.”
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