Philadelphia light poles get all cozied up

    “Yarn bombing” goes large scale outside a Center City gallery.

    Those who have an eye for graffiti may have noticed downtown Philadelphia is getting fluffier. Some scofflaws are using yarn and knitting needles to wrap sidewalk poles and bikes racks with cozies, scarves, and socks. A Chinatown art gallery gives guerrilla knitting the highbrow treatment.

    Jerry Kaba strings up yarnwork for his artist girlfriend Jessie Hemmons

    Jessie Hemmons wrapped two light poles on Juniper Street near the Convention Center in cozies knit from bright pink, orange, and green yarn. The streetlights are about 30 feet high, requiring a motorized cherry picker to get to the top.

    “This is an opportunity I wouldn’t be able to do on my own, because I don’t have the resources, like being able to go up in a cherry picker.”

    Hemmons was invited to cover two light poles by an art gallery called Jolie Laide. Director Travis Heck likes the contrast of candy-colored yarn in a post-industrial urban block.

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    “It’s this grungy, broken windows, all the doors are messed up. And to make it a little more beautiful – brighten it up a little with her stuff.”

    The covered light poles are the largest pieces of yarn bombing in Philadelphia. Hemmons did not install them by herself – she sent her boyfriend up thirty feet in the wobbly cherry picker.

    The yarn will remain on the pole until it rots off – but Hemmons says when it gets faded and dirty she will cut it off.

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