Birmingham bombed by stitches

Colorful community art installation returns this weekend

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published September 15, 2015


BIRMINGHAM — Knit two, purl one.

If you can’t read a knitting pattern, don’t worry. All you need to know is that Sept. 19-28, Birmingham in Stitches will hit the streets of downtown Birmingham again.

The community art installation first came to the city in 2012 and has been promoted since by the Birmingham Public Arts Board. The “yarn bombing” event will give fiber artists the chance to cover city structures like trees, parking meter posts, light posts, bicycle racks and benches in colorful yarn projects for all to enjoy through the fall.

“The volunteers worked very hard, and we’re excited to unveil some clever yarn designs to the community,” Public Arts Board member and project leader Linda Wells said in a prepared statement.

Margaret Sheckell, of The Knitting Room in downtown Birmingham, said her shop will of course be participating in this year’s bombing.

“Cathy Chartier will be representing The Knitting Room and organizing everything. With her and her creative juices flowing, you’re just going to be amazed at what you see,” Sheckell said.

Chartier, who’s described as a doctor by day and knitter by night, will be presenting a theme of “family trees” along Merrill, between Pierce and Old Woodward.

“The trees will represent her family — her husband and three sons. But I know she’s doing several things, and you’ll just be surprised,” said Sheckell.

Other themes this year created by participants include “Eat Yo’ Veggies,” “Jurassic Parking,” “Ninja Turtle,” “Rapunzel,” “Touché Pussycat,” “Sunset on Lake Michigan” and more.

In addition to time offered up by talented volunteers, retailers like Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft, Michaels and Wal-Mart have all supported the 2015 Birmingham in Stitches event.

The colorful display is no doubt a benefit to the retailers, restaurants and other businesses downtown, according to Birmingham Principal Shopping District Executive Director John Heiney.

“This creative, colorful display will become a valuable added attraction to our shopping district this fall,” Heiney said in an email. “Anytime we can bring art and creative endeavors like this into the shopping district, we are serving our patrons as well as our business owners.”

If weather permits, Birmingham in Stitches will be extended until Oct. 11. Downtown Birmingham’s main intersection is at South Old Woodward and Maple Road.