Saturday, 20 October 2012

Yarn Bomb in Africa

Squares brought in on Friday - a weeks worth of work.
our Jacaranda
This year we decided to celebrate World AIDS day by decorating our Jacaranda tree outside our gate. Two years ago we wrapped it and put some fairy lights up and the community responded by coming in for testing - we did a record number of tests that month we went from 70 tests to 400! We were going to wrap it again but my friend Lovell mentioned yarn bombing, and was getting very excited when she was explaining to me what it was.... I googled it to my happy amazement, and decided that that is what we were going to do, instead of trying to sell AIDS Ribbons we would get the community to invest in a  crochet square made by our crafters and they in turn would be part of a much bigger project . In all our tree will use 160 maybe more crafters, plus our community at large. We hope we can get every one involved in some small way. In my searching I came across Stephen Duneier's blog and have been in contact with him - he completed a big Yarn bomb tree in Santa Barbara desert in June, and I just find it amazing how one can connect - space - time do not matter!
Stephens Tree and our official inspiration - please visit his blog re process.

Jess Southey has joined the project,  although we both have never yarn bombed before we are passionate and enthusiastic, and I have to confess I am a hopeless knitter, Jess loves crochet and is good at it. Jess and I have got three experts from Woza Moya - Winnie, Theresa and Clara - who were the only three ladies who could crochet when the project began. Since the 1st of October 2012 Winnie Clara and Theresa have taught over 100 ladies to crochet and thousands of squares have been brought in. They are stored in our office and now Jess and I can barely get into the office for the wall of squares. We have also had the Quilting guilds and knitting shops support us, and they have donated hundreds of squares  so shew - thank- you Village Road Quilters, Bernina and Wool and Weave for the donated wool and squares. As this will be the first big yarn bomb in South Africa the local knitting community are excited . So are we! 

 We also bombed a few trees outside - babies to practice for the real event. Every now and then I have a massive panic attack and think jeepers this is absolutely crazy but we are too far gone to opt out - it is full steam ahead!  I have to say when I was photographing the trees two people were on their way to work , heads down when they looked up they starting smiling and then laughing, and I thought this is what we want to achieve - just pure joy that ART can create, not demanding or wanting anything back in return. I am a firm believer in Art that makes you smile!  Yesterday an overwhelming number of Squares came in, it absolutely floored me that a person can go from not crocheting to being great in a week.  Most of our crafters brought in over 30 squares each , Woza Moya pays for every square brought in and every crafter is given wool. Our main aim here is to put an income back into a community in need.  Jess and I have had wonderful individual support with individuals making small donations ( I call it our Obama campaign)  as well as corporate donations.
Yesterday we had to buy wool as we had run out of the donated wool. We have also been experimenting bombing furniture and Winnie, Clara and Theresa were given a chair each . You can see a small chair in the pic - will post more photos when we are done.  This is a great challenge for the crafters of Woza Moya who usually work on a very minute scale and in tiny 11'0 beads to now  working in wool and our canvas a tree. When we are done - we will have hopefully created a landmark - temporary though it may be , get over 1000 people to come in to test over November December, Increase foot - traffic and sales in our Woza Moya shop, inspire a community whilst creating a beacon of hope for all those who are living /or are affected by HIV/AIDS. It is also just a crazy thing to do - and the women of Woza Moya like a challenge. On Friday when all the crafters came in the excitement was at fever pitch and we also had new women from the community coming in to join the project. Life is beautiful right now.......

Crafters of Woza Moya bring in their squares! A most gloriously happy day!
Joyce shows off her square!

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