Some people like the sight of a big pile of dirt—little boys, for instance. They love dirt.
But Denver recognizes that not everyone is so inspired by seeing dirt.
Thus the Union Station Construction Fence Project was born. The Denver
Office of Cultural Affairs Public Art Program and the Central Platte
Valley Metropolitan District joined to commission artists to transform
360 feet of fencing into a canvas for art.
And of the 300 applicants, the winners were the Ladies Fancywork Society.
Here they are: Esther, Maxine, Lucy Lynn, Jeanne Lois and Edie (all LFS aliases--often they do their crochet artwork by night and prefer to keep a low profile):
The women, who have been all about crochet since they formed LFS in 2007, are delighted, of course, to participate in this sanctioned festooning of the city. They have contributed art to the city before --most notably in the form of legwarmers on the Dancers sculpture by Jonathan Borofsky outside the Denver Performing Arts Complex (you can read more about that here). The legwarmers were confiscated and eventually distributed to homeless shelters as blankets.
Brooke Jones, the coordinator of Denver's public art program, encouraged the LFS to channel their powers for good and apply for the Union Station Construction Fence Project.
"Everybody agreed that something pretty needed to go up here," says Edie, an LFS leader who lives in Amsterdam but returned to Denver for the installation. "Crochet needed a little love." Plus, the craft is speedy. And the acrylic yarn is durable.
Edie estimates that each member of the group put in 150 to 200 hours crocheting the flowers, stems, grasshoppers, spiders, ants and so forth. Esther changed up her commuting practices, taking public transportation so she could add an hour of crocheting to her day. She also made it through five seasons of Buffy while crocheting at home.
For a video of the installation in progress, check here.
On Saturday, July 24, they held a workshop in which the public was invited to join
in making flowers and attaching them to the fence with zip ties. By
this point, the women had made bags and bags of crocheted gardenry and
attached them to all but one panel of fencing (the art had to be
contained within each section so the fencing and art can be moved
intact when necessary).
Brooke Jones and a young helper do their part:
Wimi helped out:
And LFS members were thrilled to see that folks broke out of the relatively conventional installation of a flower garden to create faces and claws and swinging swirls of stems:
It was hard to say just when it was done:
But eventually folks had to stop zip-tying and return to whatever it was they were doing before they planted crocheted flowers along a fence in downtown Denver.
The installation will be up for about six months. You'll find it right across from Union Station in downtown Denver, near the Millennium Bridge at 16th St. & Wewatta St. (and for goodness' sake, look both ways at the street! Wimi almost lost her tiara in the crossing. There's a light rail train, cars and all manner of motor vehicles coming and going there. It's not dangerous, but it's good to be alert.)
You can read more about the Ladies Fancywork Society here and here.