Time to redecorate the fiber arts tree
Two years ago, island resident Sue Black had an idea – enlist local people who knit or crochet to collaborate on a fiber arts project. People were asked to make small orange squares that would be sewn together to form a large monarch butterfly.
At what would now be considered the onset of the Covid pandemic, islanders were happy to find something to do, and dozens of squares were donated.
Black had enlisted the help of fiber artist Naomi Lawrence, who has a home on Block Island, but mainly works and lives in Harlem and is originally from Liverpool. Lawrence, an experienced “yarn bomber” and crochet artist was happy to help. She not only crocheted many of the squares, she sewed them all together into wings and a body, adding veins and details to make the massive butterfly as authentic as possible.
Then one day in June, 2020, Lawrence and islander Charon Littlefield, another yarn master, met with Black at Ball O’Brien Park to assemble the butterfly and attach it to the
fence of the tennis courts. The installation delighted visitors and locals for the entire summer, and into the fall.
Almost as soon as the butterfly came down, Black was busy conjuring up her next project, a tree made out of yarn squares to celebrate the holiday season. She enlisted the
help of sculptor Aymar Ccopacatty to construct a tree fame out of wire mesh and again got the word out to the community to craft squares – this time mainly green to create a
Now it’s time to redecorate the tree, which will be located outside the Spring Street Gallery. Once again, people are invited to crochet, knit, or weave five-inch (or so) squares in spring and summer colors. Triangles are also welcome and perfect geometrical proportions are not necessary. As with past projects, there will be a box of supplies that people
can use to pick up yarn, crochet hooks, or needles. Those with extra bits of yarn in their stashes or other supplies are also invited to drop those off for people to use.
Finished squares can be dropped off in one of the boxes, or if made off-island, mailed to Black at P.O. Box 134, Block Island, RI 02807.
In the meantime, up until Memorial Day weekend everyone is invited to go on a “scavenger hunt” around the yard, on trails, or at the beach to gather materials from nature that
can be used to temporarily decorate the tree. Just take them to the gallery and weave them in. “Anything goes,” says Black. “Twigs, grasses, [fallen] bark, seaweed, et cetera.”
On Memorial Day weekend, the fiber squares will be sewn together and attached to the tree – again with the help of Lawrence. To participate, contact Black at email@example.com and she will let you know the exact day and time.