Jennifer Daro, Metuchen Yarn Bombing

Jennifer Daro is a longtime Metuchen resident with over 26 years of experience knitting and crocheting, and is the founder of Metuchen Yarn Bombing (MYB), local group that has created a variety of public art displays and community service projects. The arts enthusiast has a BFA in Visual Communications (with a concentration in Graphic Design) and an MA in Behavioral Sciences (with a concentration in Human Behavior and Organizational Psychology) from Kean University. She recently spoke with Allen McGinley, chair of the NJ Makers Day Marketing Committee.

Can you tell us about your craft?

Yarn bombing, sometimes called guerrilla knitting, is a fun, vibrant form of public art. Knitters and crocheters create colorful pieces of fiber work and hang them in public for people to view. Yarn bombing can be found all over the world, and can be found on trees, fences, in parks – anywhere! There is so much joy to experience when someone comes across yarn bombing and doesn’t know what it is. It is a great way to expose people to fiber arts, whether it is knitting, crocheting, spinning yarn, or weaving.

What is your background, and how did you become interested in yarn bombing?

My mother taught me how to crochet when I was a young child but it was sometime in High School that I taught myself how to knit. I have been knitting and crocheting now for over 26 years. The past two years I have moved to spinning my own yarn on a drop spindle and spinning wheel. My next adventure will be hand dying yarn that I have spun myself. A few years ago, I stumbled upon yarn bombing and I created the Metuchen Yarn Bombing group in 2013. I try to stay connected with other yarn bombers through social media, which has led to working on projects with other yarn bombers in NJ.

What is it about this particular medium that appeals to you?

Working with fiber is very relaxing. For me, it is a form of meditation. There is a focus on your hands and the work you are creating, and because it is such a rhythmic motion, you can easily get lost in fiber. Yarn and fiber come in many different formats including acrylic, cotton, wool, and bamboo. You can even spin yarn from your dog or cats fur! There is just something really special about creating a piece of art or a piece of clothing that you made yourself. Handmade crafts are not as popular as they were in the past, but there is a lot of joy that comes from making something with your own hands.

I also love to give back to the community. This is the third winter that the Metuchen Yarn Bombing group is working with partners to provide handmade items to the local homeless population. We work with Kean University’s Be the Change and have made over 500 handmade items already (and we are still going!), and we were also contacted by JFK Medical Center Auxiliary Office in Edison, NJ to make Knitted Knockers for breast cancer survivors who have had a mastectomy.

What is the work you’ve done that you are most proud of?

Over the last few years the Metuchen Yarn Bombing group has grown and there are several members of the group who work together to create beautiful works of public art. The gallery below includes pictures from: a piano cover for the Old Franklin Schoolhouse in Metuchen; several projects from the Junebug Artfest in Metuchen; a chair cover from Cai’s Cafe; a bench piece on Metuchen’s Main Street; a yarn bombing installation at Rahway Train Station, in collaboration with the Rahway Arts and Business Partnership; a scarecrow contest in Metuchen; a “welcome blanket” from the Smart Museum of Art in Chicago; and two pineapple pieces from the Whole Foods Market in Metuchen.

Piano Old Franklin Schoolhouse Junebug Artfest, 2015 Junebug Artfest, 2016

How can other people learn more about yarn bombing or get involved in this type of making?

Metuchen Yarn Bombing meets once a month in Metuchen. Anyone interested can join our Facebook Group for information about current projects and upcoming meetings. You can also find the Metuchen Yarn Bombing group on:

Instagram: @metuchenyarnbombing

Twitter: @metuchenyarn

Ravelry: @MYB-MetuchenYarn

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