Knitting for History: Yarn Bombing the DC-3

The Yarn Bomb Yukon Collective is so excited and proud to announce our first large scale public art project.  Yarn Bombing the DC-3!

Check out our press release:

Imagine the Yukon Transportation Museum’s DC-3 airplane covered in a knitted tea cozy. Why would anyone cover a whole airplane with yarn?  That’s what a new craft collective is hoping you ask.  It’s called a yarn-bomb– a practice that involves covering public property with colourful knitted and crocheted patterns, serving as art but also reclaiming public space – a mix of art, activism and education.

“Yarn-bombs are a great way to brighten up our environment, especially in the long cold winter. Yarn-bombing isn’t about defacing objects, it’s about enhancing them – it’s an act of celebration of hand-made creations,” says Jessica Vellenga, member of Yarn Bomb Yukon.

Though yarn-bombs are often done anonymously, the planned yarn-bombing of the DC-3 airplane is a dedicated partnership between Yarn Bomb Yukon, the Yukon Transportation Museum, and the Yukon Arts Centre. With the support of the museum, the project offers an innovative approach to collaboration, community engagement and education. The goal of the project is to provide a participatory experience that melds public art, education, knitting, science, and Yukon’s aviation history. This summer’s yarn-bombing of the DC-3 may be the largest yarn-bomb installation in Canada.

Casey McLaughlin, Executive Director/Curator of the Yukon Transportation Museum, thinks the project is an exciting way to engage the Yukon public: “This is a huge opportunity for the museum to attract a diverse audience and get them excited about the DC-3 and its importance to Yukon’s history.  Every person who picks up a needle, listens to the radio, attends a knitting bee or looks at a poster regarding this project will instantly become a captive audience for us. Additionally, we not only want this to be a one of a kind art installation, but also an opportunity to educate people as to what museums do, why we do it and why we do it to certain standards.”  McLaughlin has enlisted the aid of conservators, an aircraft engineer and an architect to ensure that the care and safety of the DC-3 is a top priority for the project.

“This is an exciting project that could only happen through partnership,” says Mary Bradshaw, Gallery Director of the Yukon Arts Centre.  “All three partners are thrilled to work together and with the public.  Because really, this is a massive project—we need everyone to help by picking up their knitting needles.”

From Yukon Arts Centre’s and Yarn Bomb Yukon’s perspective, the project will also foster an appreciation for fibre arts, and teach lifelong knitting and crocheting skills.

“Community engagement is a large part of my artistic practice and teaching people to knit and crochet and learn about yarn-bombing became the next project for me to work on.  I hope the public responds positively and wants to get involved,” says Vellenga. To promote the project, Yarn Bomb Yukon and the Yukon Arts Centre will hold workshops in downtown Whitehorse, at various summer festivals, and for other events such as Worldwide Knit in Public Day.

Calling All Knitters

Since the yarn-bombing of an airplane is such a huge endeavour, Vellenga is calling for the general public to join in the fun and pick up some knitting needles of their own. The collective is looking for knitters and crocheters of all levels to pitch in. Just as importantly, they’re looking for donations of yarn, knitting and crochet supplies, blankets, and knitted or crocheted cloth. Donations can be dropped off at the Yukon Arts Centre and other locations that will be announced shortly.