Yarn Explosion will cover Sumter Cultural Center grounds

BY IVY MOORE
Special to The Sumter Item
Posted 4/6/18

Sumter has had a few "yarn bombings," lampposts or telephone poles partially covered in knitted or crocheted fabric by some anonymous person or persons. But now in progress is a yarn bombing event so …

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Yarn Explosion will cover Sumter Cultural Center grounds

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Sumter has had a few "yarn bombings," lampposts or telephone poles partially covered in knitted or crocheted fabric by some anonymous person or persons. But now in progress is a yarn bombing event so big it can only be called an "explosion."

Between April and early fall, a team of experienced yarn bombers out of Columbia will work with several local teams of knitters and crocheters to plan and execute a massive installation that will see the trees, fixtures and even the columns in front of Patriot Hall covered in colorful fabric designs. Colclough said the project will yarn bomb trees on the Haynsworth Street side of the Sumter Cultural Center, "and we hope to extend the project to the (Sumter County) Recreation Department, and hopefully from Mood Avenue to Purdy Street. We will not cover any of the artworks on the grounds. It's a huge project."

Sumter County Cultural Commission Executive Director Melanie Colclough wrote and secured a $5,000 Connected Communities grant from the Central Carolina Community Foundation to fund the Sumter Yarn Explosion.

"It's not just yarn bombing," Colclough said. "The intent (of the project is in) bringing neighbors together" to create amazing art.

In a news release, she said " intergenerational and culturally diverse teams of volunteers will spend time together creating individual pieces of crocheted designs that will culminate in art the entire community can enjoy together." As an example of some of the whimsy of the project, she envisions something like gloves or mittens on the hand-shaped chairs in front of Patriot Hall.

Thus far, Colclough said, "There are five groups of Sumter yarn bombers who will be supported and mentored by the 'professional' Columbia yarn bombers. They'll help them with challenges and to add flair."

Squad leaders or community facilitators will meet with the teams at least monthly for crochet and knitting sessions. Their time spent together will also create bonds between team members.

As they work, Colclough said, their process and progress will be documented in photographs and videos, which will be shared on Facebook. Once the yarn bombing pieces are completed in the fall, the team members will gather at Patriot Hall to install them.

"It will likely take hours to do it," Colclough said. "The majority of the work will be done by Sumter residents. We'll invite the community to come and observe all or part of the installation and participate in the party celebrating the explosion of color."

There is plenty of room for any other volunteers who want to participate in the event, she said. While knitting and crocheting experience is helpful, it is not required for those who'd like to get involved.

Colclough also said there are sponsorship opportunities for businesses and organizations.

"Their logos will be created in yarn," she said, "and placed in our logo garden on the grounds."

The Sumter County Cultural Center offers Sumter residents a place to experience creative and diverse cultural opportunities. Visit Facebook.com/SumterSCArts.

If you would like to participate, or want to help sponsor the project, contact the Sumter County Cultural Center, 135 Haynsworth St., at (803) 436-2260 or email mcolclough@sumtercountysc.org.