Scene

The Sisterhood of Yarn Bombing

A look inside five women’s whimsical war on (and for) Denver’s public art.

August 2013

The needlework movement has gone guerilla. Under the cover of darkness, operatives for the Ladies Fancywork Society (LFS), a group of five twentysomethings, have “yarn bombed” a number of iconic Denver works. In 2010, they dressed the Theatre District’s dancing statues in seven-foot-tall wool leg warmers, and in 2011, they affixed an eight-foot-wide crocheted ball to our beloved blue bear.

Call it whimsical. Call it public art. Just don’t call it knitting. “Art like this isn’t necessarily about skill level. It’s about just having the guts to do it,” says one LFS member. “You can have a say in the world around you if you choose to interact with it.”

The LFS is definitely having its say. The group has been commissioned to craft installations for the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, DIA, and the Denver Art Museum, where their latest yarn fancywork—a magical forest—is currently on display as part of the Spun exhibit.

The LFS’s “arrival” on the arts scene has been six years in the making. The Denver friends began wrapping small, eye-catching sleeves around bike racks and benches in 2007. Those only took a few hours. The group spends months crafting the larger pieces, dividing them into sections that they crochet individually. When done, they stage the massive pieces in the wee hours. 

Their colossal fiber works (the blue bear piece required 16 miles of yarn) are not designed to be functional, but rather to demonstrate that art is—and can be—everywhere. For their part, city officials don’t seem to mind. We’ll see if Washington, D.C., has the same sense of humor if the LFS carries out its bucket-list mission at the Lincoln Memorial. Time and date: classified.