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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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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