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Wichita State sculptures ‘bombed’ by knitters, crocheters

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Sep. 18, 2012, at 10:29 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, Sep. 18, 2012, at 10:33 p.m.

The Wichita State University campus has been “bombed” and the results have people smiling.

About two dozen sculptures around campus have been “yarn bombed,” dressed up in colorful yarn pieces crafted by local knitters and crocheters.

“It is fabulous out here,” said Teresa Veazey, interim director of the Ulrich Museum of Art, about the “colorful, fun, creative stitchery.”

The knitters and crocheters spent months working on pieces with which to decorate sculptures. The millipede outside the Ulrich, dubbed Millie, now wears a sweater and leg warmers.

Through Sunday, anyway.

“It’s colorful, it’s fun, it’s unexpected,” Veazey said.

In other words, she added, just what a museum of contemporary art should be.

Someone in Jane McHugh’s knitting group brought a magazine article to a gathering last winter about “yarn bombings.” The group quickly decided they should do one in Wichita.

“I thought Millie would be the perfect thing to do,” McHugh said.

“Yarn bombing is really something you just do — you don’t ask permission.”

Because she’s on the Ulrich’s board of directors, though, “I didn’t want to get arrested defacing a public sculpture,” McHugh said.

She took the idea to the board, which loved the idea, and expanded it to include knitters and crocheters from around the city.

The statue of Thomas Jefferson and the columns to 17th and Fairmount are among the pieces that have been dressed up. “Tons of people” were on campus Sunday to see the decorated sculptures and visit the Ulrich, which reopened after nine months of renovation, Veazey said.

McHugh said she has seen a lot of people around campus since Saturday when the creations were unveiled.

“Everybody has a smile on their face, which is sort of the idea,” McHugh said.

Her group is eager for another yarn bombing, McHugh said, but they haven’t settled on a target.

Mary Konecny, owner of the Heritage Hut, said a few of her customers helped with the project.

“It’s great exposure for the art,” Konecny said.

Knitting has been “on the comeback trail for a few years now,” she said. “This can only help it.”

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or sfinger@wichitaeagle.com.

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