Yarnbombing & Community Inspiration – Interview with The Grange Range

Due to a glitch and some miscommunications, this article was delayed for quite some months. Fortunately the lovely artist behind this post had gotten a hold of me and had finally given her approval for me to post on here.  Featuring Ms. Geraldine, here is my long overdue interview!

An embarrassingly long time ago, I wrote about the first part of Yarnbombing by addressing the three main methods to go about it.  Leaving off at  the Quilting, Cozies & Covering method, I have yet to decode the ideas behind “Interactive” and “Combination : Covering + Interactive” method.

Used with permission. All rights reserved by The Grange Range

What better way is there than to illustrate a stunning Interactive yarnbombing project through our guest?

Meet lovely fibre artist, yarnbomber, creative blogger, fundraiser and all things awesome:
Ms. Geraldine from The Grange Range.

Aside from being part of a management team at Hackness Road Surgery–a small family oriented clinic in North Yorkshire, England, Geraldine is the brilliant mind behind the creative event Charity Yarn Bombing. With the theme “Fantasy Garden”, Geraldine thought to herself, “It would make our patients smile if we could yarn bomb the place with colourful flowers and wild animals”.

Fantasy Garden: A Yarn Bombing Reality

Geraldine found out about yarn bombing on the internet while browsing through patterns. Inspired by the concept, she felt an urge to participate.

“When I first mentioned [my yarn bombing] idea to my husband, I think he thought I was a bit crazy! One day, my husband (a GP at our clinic) saw a patient knitting in the waiting room so he mentioned my idea to her.”

Seeing how enthusiastic the patient was, Geraldine’s husband became one of the key support for this project. By offering the surgery grounds for after hours workshop and the venue for this event, the project began to take its shape.

Used with permission. All rights reserved by The Grange Range.

Used with permission. All rights reserved by The Grange Range.

Geraldine made her yarnbombing for charity announcement online in June 2014, calling for contributions to turn her “crazy idea” into a reality.

To go a step further, Geraldine inspired community members to give towards local hospital and hospice by auctioning off the lovely masterpieces.  Utilizing existing landscape and structures, Geraldine and her friends were able to create a vibrant atmosphere through fibre arts.Placing crochet birds & nests in the trees, creating a crochet animal picnic area and fairy woods are just some of the highlights.


Interview with Geraldine, Founder of Charity Yarn Bombing

Used with permission. All rights reserved by The Grange Range & associated artists.

 

 

Used with permission. All rights reserved by The Grange Range & associated artists.

Used with permission. All rights reserved by The Grange Range & associated artists.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

The Fantasy Garden reminds me of a children’s storybook. In addition to the fun, imaginary elements, audience can also see all the hard work that’s involved behind the scene. I’m curious, roughly how many participants were there?

Locally we enjoyed the support of so many people it is difficult to give a figure, everyone helped in different ways: Some patients contributed yarn, others crafted at the yarn workshop. One patient helped coined the term “Fantasy Garden”, and another patient has also become an unofficial Secretary. She is a good copy writer and helps keep my flighty mind on the point at hand. There was a constant core of about 10 who attended every craft session and managed responsibilities for pulling the nitty gritty of the project together.

Used with permission. All rights reserved by The Grange Range & associated artists.

Globally, we were supported by dozens of incredibly generous crafters from the land of bloggers. It was so exciting opening the post, we received something nearly every day at one point from around the world!We received so many animals, birds, floral contributions and metres of bunting from as far as Singapore, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Belgium and America and as close as Bridlington and Pickering just a few miles away.

A global involvement to support a small community cause? That’s fantastic! Were you expecting this level of participation when you first made the artist call? What were your thoughts when your project began to come together?

Amazed, stunned, exhilarated, delighted, humbled…………. I find it almost impossible to express my feelings on this point. In my head I was happy to just create some woolly creatures and floral pictures and decorate a small area of the surgery.

   

Used with permission. All rights reserved by The Grange Range & associated artists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the support of everyone who gave generously of their time, what started as a little idea received such fantastic support it grew to be 5 displays in the surgery car park and gardens.

Uniting communities while supporting hospital & hospice, that’s incredibly inspiring. Do you intend on doing something similar this year?

Yes, by popular demand we are doing the yarn bombing again this year on August Bank holiday weekend again. The displays will include Dinosaur Parl, Teddy Bears Picnic, Down on the Farm, Jungle Capers and beside the Seaside.


Additional Thoughts on Charity Event & Creative Giving

Apart from crafty supporters, Geraldine also mentioned the amount of support she had received from donors in “just about every county across the UK. Curious about how a charity auction works without the traditional table & bidding sheets, I asked about the format.

 

Used with permission. All rights reserved by The Grange Range & associated artists.

 

Turns out Geraldine and her team allocated a numbered ticket to each item. They then set up a sealed box in each area so that visitors could then complete a slip using the number corresponding to the piece of work they wanted to bid on, then post it into a sealed box. The boxes were opened the following week and the highest bidder for each item contacted to arrange collection and payment.

When asked about some of the fondest memories about this project, Geraldine mentioned,

“It was lovely to join together in delivering the project. So many people who would otherwise never have met including patients, staff, friends and the local community. We had great fun and lots of laughter at the crafty get together.”

Of course, a project like this is not without is challenges. The mastermind behind Fantasy Garden shared,

Used with permission. All rights reserved by The Grange Range & associated artists.

“Getting the pond covered was the biggest nightmare! The original arrangement to cover it fell through and with just one week to go before the event.

Opposite the surgery is a pub called the Rosette.  A chap was stood leaning against a builders van watching this gaggle of ladies wandering and pointing, trying to discuss alternatives for our duck displays. One of our group gestured for him to join us.  Long story short, his mate joined him and they were delighted to jump in and do it for us. We were so grateful to them.”

As for a word of advice for regarding yarn bombing, creative visions, and charitable cause, Geraldine encourages everyone to “Just go for it, it is truly amazing what can develop once you get going.”

If you’re in the UK, be sure to check out the event this summer:

You can also visit Geraldine’s blog at The Grange Range to keep posted about her work!

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{Creative Juice #1.1} Pareidolia + Crochet Designs: Market Bag

fantastical blender

Welcome to the first segment of Molly’s Fantastical Blender! The idea behind this segment is to get a sample of the creative juice that’s happening in Molly Marmalade’s design kitchen.

Volume 1 | See Things, Learn a word


“It’s a horse galloping across Cotton Candy Land,” Holly the jellyfish said.
“Nono, it’s a mongoose chasing off a unicorn that’s wearing a box on its head!” Molly replied.
“Oh come on, everyone knows they’re just clouds,” Berry the giant jellyfish argued.

Pareidolia: noun par·ei·do·lia \ˌper-ˌī-ˈdōl-ē-ə, –ˈdōl-yə\
the tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful, image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern  — compare apophenia

– Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

While the jellyfish argued about what they saw in the sky, I’ve been working on a few ideas that are loosely inspired by pareidolia. Whether you have heard of the term or not, it’s actually a fairly common psychological phenomenon with varying a degree of severity. Some of the more well-known pareidolia examples include the infamous Virgin Mary toast, Man in the Moon, Potato Chip Elvis, or “faces” that appears on day to day items like wall sockets.

According to a research from 2000, published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, different combinations of brain regions are involved in various types of pareidolia: alphabetical perception would require a different combination than that from a facial perception. Furthermore in a 2014 publication from Cortext , researchers found that primary visual cortex and prefrontal cortex are mainly responsible for face pareidolia phenomenon.

Experience Pareidolia? Make it!


Photo by Flickr user nazzen9009

Simple inspiration can begin to flow for people who experience pareidolia. After all when one can see the outcome, why not make it so?  It takes just a bit of imagination to initiate a simple creative process.

Designer/Artist Matt Caliman had also made this process simple: His Etsy: Creative Outlet Shop offers stickers that can turn your wall socket into cartoon faces!

Molly’s Fantastical Blender

Creative Juice: Market Tote Bag Style #1


Instead of just seeing faces or letters from patterns, making a small stretch of imagination is pretty helpful when it comes to crochet designs. Most of the market tote bags available online are very nice: Great colours made from practical materials, and occasionally fancy crochet stitches. Other common methods include sewing on floral appliques, making colourful stripes and the like. On the other hand, it really doesn’t hurt to make something fun and simple!

Brainstorming Exercise using 3 free patterns below

      

Photos & Free Pattern from Lion Brand Market Tote

When you look at a crochet market tote, what do you see?

  • Consider its shape: What does it resemble?
  • Embellishments: If you were to add eyes to one angle, what would you do?
  • From different angles, the bag may have potentials to look quite different.

Geometric Breakdown


marketbag1
Let’s take a look at some of the possible items we can associate the shape with. For this segment, I’m only focusing on the “narrow side” as the front side. Next entry I’m going to be talking about using the “wide side” as the main side of the bag.

At a glance I can think of at least 7 possible items. Of course some are a bit of a stretch, like a bloated bowling pin. If you are into amigurumi and cutesy things, try adding facial features to them. You may end up making your own characters by changing the colours and adding simple details.

My Work in progress


WIPDroplet1a WIPdroplet1

Starting with the most straight forward one, I’ll be working my way through some of these ideas. Thanks once again for tuning into my first segment of Fantastical Blender! What do you think of the Creative Juice sample so far?

Coming up with ideas isn’t as difficult as you think! Are you inspired? It would be super uber duper nice of you if you can LINK BACK to my post here!  Share your work with me as I’ll be completing some of these designs as well.

Any thoughts, comment, or feedback? Constructive criticisms are always welcomed! Until next time *poof*

The Making of My Gnomies: For Project Gnome Diplomacy

IMG_20150407_083225 (1)I like gnomes. Not necessarily the super tacky kind, but they certainly did make an impression.

For one, I watched The World of David The Gnome religiously when I was a child. Another contributing factor must have been from early childhood brainwashing. My mother, Mrs. Taffy, used to conduct quirky show and tell sessions about art and literary works at home. Ok fine. It sounded odder than it really was, because I was genuinely fascinated by everything.  Regardless of the eccentric early education style that was conducted at my household, Gnomes by Wil Huygen and Rien Poortvliet stuck out to me.

chillwithgnome
My dorky fascination with gnomes had remained secret until I saw this guy at a discount store. For some stupid reason, I had to muster up the courage to get a gnome… just to chill with it.

Instead of getting tanned, he’s now monochrome due to the constant sun exposure in the yard. Yes, this picture was from just month ago when I was chilling with him inside the flat.

Project Gnome Diplomacy

When I first saw Mochimochi Land’s work, I recall becoming absolutely enlightened and ecstatic. I am quite enamoured by Anna Hrachovec’s knitted gnomes and the colourful fantasy world. Mochimochi Land made a gnome call to knitters and crocheters to participate in Project Gnome Diplomacy in March.

Sending gnome diplomats as a part of Mochimochi Land installation in Seoul? Fantastic! I can’t procrastinate any more. I’m going to CROCHET my own gnomes!

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Jelly Adoption Edition: Barry’s Road Trip

pogo Dear Barry, 

I heard you end up staying with Molly and her sister. That must be fun! I was nervous at first, but my new family turns out to be awesome! They are a super sweet couple. 

Come visit me in California soon. My family said you can stay with me when you visit. I miss you bud!

Say hi to Molly and Holly for me!

-Pogo


 Story of Pogo and barry

When they were just polyps, Barry and Pogo knew they were different from other jellyfish. After all, imagination-powered jellyfish are not exactly common in the ocean. They travelled everywhere looking for adventures as kindred spirits until one day:

jellyad

“Whoa! I’ve always wanted to do that, ” both jellyfish exclaimed and decided to make their way towards the Jelly Adoption Hub.  Unfortunately the waves were too strong and they were separated.

Arriving a year apart, Barry was thrilled to know that Pogo was adopted by a family in California. As for Barry? My partner was charmed by the blue jelly’s inquisitiveness, love for food, and easily excitable personality and took on the role as the adoptive parent.

road trip!!!!

Barry wouldn’t stop bothering my partner about the amazing road trip upon receiving Pogo’s letter. Finally a few months ago, my partner arranged for a road trip to California with his friends and took Barry with him:

Simon: A lesson in waiting, monster of encouragement

I have nearly forgotten about Simon, one of my personal favourites. Yet I haven’t bothered to give him arms and legs for years.

From the time I started to design Simon to subsequent years, I was undergoing what seemed to be a never-ending streak of loss: the termination of a long relationship, the passing of a well loved pet, the loss of a dear friend to terminal illness, and other not-so-good times.

I am finally willing to acknowledge that I’ve been putting Simon off. I haven’t been ready to be reminded of the tougher times.

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1st Tutorial: Free Penguin Coffee Cup Sleeve Pattern

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGood morning everyone! If I had a choice of working during my personal peak hours, I am certain I wouldn’t be recognized as “a regular” in neighbourhood cafes.

I recall working near a series of great coffee shops several years ago. As a result, at least one staff and one manager knew me by my name from all 5 cafes within a quick walking distance. That’s bad.

I was really sluggish when I initially thought about what to do for my 1st tutorial. That’s when the idea came to me: Early birds!


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPutting what bird on it?

Two of my close friends must have rubbed off on me. They often speak about the idea of running away to meet penguins whenever they are going through some rough patches. What better bird is there than a penguin to comfort me when I get out of bed, and brace the storm of the day?


Changing Colours & Crooked Edges

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATo be honest, the pattern would have been a lot quicker & easier had I decide to use a simple “change colours” method for the belly. Because changing colours mid-way would most likely cause a wobbly edge, I prefer to crochet in partial rounds then sew the parts together.

Take a look at the picture on the left:

Front – Lilac & White
– Colour Changing Method
– Less aligned edges with light colour showing

Back – Fuchsia Pink & White
Crochet in ‘partial round’ and sewing method
– More even edges, less light colour showing

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The Incredible Halt: “Knot in my skein!”

Sooner or later, crocheters would experience this awful interruption.

Yes! I’m talking about that awful surprise that jumps out at you when you’re just happily weaving your hook back and forth: “yarn over, draw loops up, draw loops through”.

Suddenly this feeling overcomes you.

“WHAT IS THIS HORROR!” You look down, and there it is…..

The Incredible Halt

You drop your pattern while letting your hook fall to the ground.

yarnknot

You might even go as far as hunting down your cell phone, and swear to capture this obscene image. “Shame on you, yarn knot! I MUST share it with my friends. No, that’s not enough. I must spread this image on social media with a “BULLSH*T” hashtag!”

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Myths, Legends, and the Year of Caprinae

2015: Year of Caprinae

IMAG2525Year of the sheep, the ram, and the goat: I’m not going to debate, so I wish you happy year of Caprinae. According to South China Morning Post, scholars believe that it’s the year of the goat based ancient illustrations.

Today marks the 8th day out of the 15 days of Chinese New Year celebration. Why does it last this long? Just imagine celebrating Winter Solstice, Seasonal religious holiday, and Valentine’s day all in one. In fact, the final day of Chinese New Year is a version of Valentine’s day (元宵節)–the first full moon of the year.

The two-weeks celebration can also allow people to return home in time to meet with alllllll the relatives. After all, I remember hearing stories about how my Great-Grandfather sailed on a junk boat from Sydney, Australia all the way back to Canton, China.


Legend+Folklore Highlights

Speaking of stories, festivals aren’t complete without their legends and folklores. Even though there are multiple versions of these stories, here are some of the highlights from my childhood:

1) New Year Day 1: The Red, The Fire Crackers, and the “Passing of Year”
In case you haven’t noticed, Chinese New Year is usually bombarded with red and gold. Maybe you’ve learned from somewhere that red symbolizes good luck and happiness, while gold means wealth. It’s true…but there’s more.

CNY01Just like Green Lantern having a weakness to things that are coloured yellow, a horrifying beast called “year”  (年 – Nian) was terrified of the colour red. Each year, the beast would come out of its hiding place to terrorize villagers. Apparently the beast had hypersensitivity issues: In addition to the colour red, the beast really disliked loud noises.

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Well-Intentioned but… A Thought on DIY Donations

*photo above taken from here used under CCC, work is by photographer Victor Bezrukov


Putting in More thoughts

Practical or Unnerving?

“It’s the thought that counts.”

My fellow NPO friends and I often discuss some of “quirky” donations organizations receive. Sometimes we are eager to help, but we may not be mindful of others who have very different life experiences than some of us.

I recall one time, someone who works with the shelter communities mentioned that they’ve received a giant box of gifts during winter. It’s new, it’s warm, it’s plain and simple, which is great! They are….. uh oh!! Ski masks.

The staff and clients all had a good laugh.  No doubt about it, it’s a very kind gesture. On the other hand, some of the shelter clients were joking about how mugging and other crimes would occur thanks to the inspirational ski masks.

What we might forget

Can be really cool under the right circumstances, but definitely not this…

Of course one wouldn’t say that ski masks will increase crime rates, but it’s not exactly a suitable attire either. What we may forget is that there are shelter residence who are coping with severe mental illness. So let’s just say ski masks may not trigger the best association when it comes to safety and comfort.


Choosing the right Material: Personal vs. Facility Laundry Care

Taken from Jillee’s guide on reading laundry symbols

When I think about it, I do take garment care for granted. While I dislike doing laundry, I have access to running water and laundry machines.

SHELTER: Though keeping warm is a huge factor, durability and washability are also very important. Whether it’s a long term or short term stay, a client’s laundry will be machine washed and dried under high heat. This is one of the sterilization process to eliminate germs and bedbugs. While wool can keep someone super warm, one may consider using materials that can withstand heat while preserving its shape & size.


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