LOCKPORT – Ellen Martin, the Lockport business owner who came up with the idea of placing pianos outside downtown stores, is at it again.
This time, Martin is sparking a “yarn bombing” movement, with permission from the city.
“It needs another name,” said Megan Menges, the Lockport High School English teacher who is spearheading the effort to bring yarn bombing to the campus.
“We are actually igniting a districtwide yarn bomb project,” she said.
But the yarn is already up along Main Street.
Despite the name, all yarn bombing amounts to is the decoration of utility poles and tree trunks with colorful scarves or other objects made of yarn.
“You don’t want something that just looks nice. You want something that looks crazy,” Martin said. “I knit all in neon colors.”
Menges said she expects a substantial number of high school students to meet after school Tuesday for yarn bombing.
“Any student who’s interested will meet in a common area, and we’ll take our scarves and needles and thread, and attach them to the trees,” she said.
Groups such as the art, Interact and Latin clubs, the DECA business club, the junior class council and Students Against Destructive Decisions are taking part in the effort.
Menges said she expects five other schools will take part: Anna Merritt, Roy B. Kelley, and George Southard elementary schools, the Lockport Opportunity Center and Emmet Belknap Intermediate School.
“It’s really meant to be a public art project, beautifying the community,” Menges said, “but it could be a charity project, too.”
The possibility has been raised of washing and mending the scarves after New Year’s and donating them to a charity. But that may seem unlikely.
“I checked with St. John’s Outreach, and they have hundreds of scarves and do not need the ones we are using,” Martin said.
Martin also said she has done some research and found that wrapping a tree trunk in yarn for a few weeks does not harm the tree.
There are about 50 trees on the high school campus, including new saplings planted as part of the school’s expansion project a couple of years ago, Menges said, and she hopes all will be yarn bombed.
“The hospital is doing it. Suzanne Junke got all the nurses knitting. The country club’s doing it, and we’ve got all of West Main Street yarn bombed,” said Martin, owner of Sweet Sixteen Cafe and Sweet Ride Rentals. The cafe hosts knitting classes on Friday afternoons.
The Dale Association and several other businesses have joined the trend.
Menges met Martin through her brother Erik Bernardi, co-owner of Lake Effect Ice Cream.
“I think Ellen Martin is incredibly inspiring and passionate about our community,” Menges said. But she doesn’t see that in some of her students, who tell her that they can’t wait to graduate and leave town.
“There is so much potential to continue uniting our school kids to our community, because, even though they live here, they’re not connected to Lockport,” the English teacher said.