Schuylkill Center trail gets wrapped in “Cold Comfort”

An eye-catching exhibit has opened at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education. 

The exhibit, called “Cold Comfort,” features 30 separate installations of brightly-colored “yarn bombs” covering tree trunks throughout the center’s Widener Trail in Upper Roxborough.  It’s part of FiberPhiladelphia, an international festival for innovative fiber and textile art.


Artist Melissa Maddonni Haims created the local site’s display.  She refers to the art, which is also known as knit graffiti, as “very dark humor.”

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She laughs while picturing a confused motorist, who pays his or her parking meter, and upon returning, discovers that the meter has been covered in a wool sweater. 

“Yarn bombing” is an art trend which has gained international popularity throughout the last few years. The brightly-colored yarn transforms public objects into works of art. One of the 30 decorated trees at the SCEE is made from more than 400 plastic bags. Another tree features stitching made by both Haims’ mother, grandmother, and herself.  

Haims says she began knitting after her mother was diagnosed with cancer. Before passing away, her mother requested that Haims complete her half-started projects, such as scarves, for her nursing attendants. And so the hobby continued. 

As she made the finishing touches on trees throughout the trail on Friday, an elementary school student asked if she was responsible for the “tree sweaters,” which she proudly said she was.

The exhibit will be on display until April 30. An opening reception will be held at The Schuylkill Center on March 10 from 1 to 4 p.m.  

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