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Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Contributed Photos -- A lamp post is colorfully
decorated in front of Lockport's City Hall. The
seasonal glow of Main Street lights the background.
It began two weeks ago on a lamp post in downtown Lockport. It has since spread up and down Main Street to the schools, the Lockport Town & Country Club, Eastern Niagara Hospital-Lockport, the Dale Association and the Spires apartment building on Ontario Street. And it continues to grow.

Yarn bombing wasn't something that Ellen Martin came up with. But it was something she was excited to share. The owner of Sweet Sixteen Cafe on Main Street and Sweet Ride Rentals on Canal Street has taken on numerous artistic projects in the city this year and says she has more in the works.

Said to have started in Texas in 2005, yarn bombing - also known as yarn storming, guerrilla knitting, urban knitting and graffiti knitting - is designed to add a little color to trees, lamp posts and other less vibrant staples in downtown areas.

Martin said, "Yarn bombing has been around for years and the City of Pittsburgh yarn bombed the Warhol Bridge. I wanted to do the locks...but that was a little much so we converted (the) project to downtown Lockport for local businesses."

From there, she says, it just grew. Yarn bombs can be seen all over the city now and the project has more than a month to go still with new decorations being put up all the time. Just today it spread to Locust Street with an addition in front of Gould's Flowers.

Of course, not everyone loves the project. Some have complained it's unsightly and others have said that the poor need the scarves more than the trees do.

A tree in front of Sweet Sixteen Cafe has been decorated
since the early part of the yarn bombing campaign.
Martin has answers to both those concerns, saying those that don't like the look can take solace in the fact that it's temporary. As for the poor needing scarves? St. John's Outreach Center on Chestnut Street has an abundance of scarves, "but needs winter coats."

These trees in front of City
Hall will be kept warm.
Earlier this year, Martin organized "Sweet Harmony," featuring pianos scattered about in public places for anyone to play. She also put together a "Sweet Chalk Festival" on Canal Street, "Sweet Dream," featuring a public wish list for Lockportians on an 8-foot by 12-foot chalk board on Canal Street and "Sweet Idea," asking residents to share why they're important to the Lock City. They were all part of a series called "Sweet Sweet Summer."

Martin said the whole "sweet" scheme was "designed to be public art and all designed to help be a part of downtown Lockport.  No hidden or deep meaning."

She says she has more plans for the future.


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