Some people know me as a serious teacher/scholar, others as a community activist, and still others as a dabbler in theatre and music. Of course, I’m all of these things and more. But it still seems to surprise some people when I do something that doesn’t match their vision of me.
Like yarn bombing.
This week there was a blue moon and the perfect time for my first adventure into this particular craft. I know that yarn bombing started out as a way to reclaim cold public space but I see it as a way to feminize or domesticate public space as well, a way to remind people to pay attention to their surroundings, and a way to simply make people smile.
I remember once walking through a campground on a Minnesota night and looking up and seeing gorgeous green waves against the black sky. Then I realized that the other few people I saw in the campground had their eyes carefully focused on the ground. They never looked up, so they never saw the aura borealis that I did.
The blue moon seemed like a perfect time to remind people to “look up.” I’m not sure if many people know what a blue moon even is. Folklore is divided on whether it is the second full moon in a month or the third of four full moons in a season. Since we in the Western World function on a solar calendar that the Roman Catholic Church modified to suit its needs, It probably doesn’t matter much which definition we follow, as long as people look up. I know the next blue moon won’t be until 2014 or 2015, depending on which definition one holds.
So I suggested to a friend that we yarn bomb on the blue moon. She is an experienced yarn bomber and loved the idea, so we crocheted individual circles of blue yarn – about 70 – and a couple of strands of moons as well, so we had about 85 moons in all. We choose the area around the Long Beach Art Museum, covered the bus stop and hung moons from the museum’s gates and on the railings all along the cliffs above the beach. The real moon loomed above us and was reflected on the water, and we giggled as we raced to get our small moons in place quickly.
Two women with children stopped to watch us. One knew what a blue moon was and the other took photos as the small moons spun in the wind. An older teen was entranced with our project, and told us he had just arrived in California to surf, and was full of enthusiasm.
People must have smiled. They certainly must have liked the moons, because by the next morning, most of them were gone, leaving behind just the strand of blue yarn that had held them in place.
There is an old canon down the street, perched on the cliff overlooking the beach. It isn’t in the harbor and serves no purpose. There’s no commemorate plaque and it isn’t particularly attractive.
I’m beginning to think that the cannon needs a cosy.