'I wanted to make them prettier': One artist's yarn lends color to south King County
In a world of concrete and chain link that's overwhelmingly gray, the urge to beautify our communities isn't an uncommon one. But it takes a special kind of person to actually do something about it.
RadioActive's Gideon Hall spoke to their mom, Christy Caravaglio, who has spent the past four years adding color to her local urban landscape.
[RadioActive Youth Media is KUOW's radio journalism and audio storytelling program for young people. This story was entirely youth-produced, from the writing to the audio editing.]
he unincorporated and recently incorporated areas of King County near where artist Christy Caravaglio lives are the picture of the smaller American city.
"Near where I live, there are a lot of blank concrete walls," Christy said. "Like retaining walls and chain-link fences on the roads that I take to and from my house. I wanted to make them prettier."
Because of those big blanks walls, Christy's first thought was murals. But the process was intimidating. Then, she learned about "yarnbombing."
"People knit or crochet things, and they wrap anything you can think of — trees and posts and bicycles and busses," she said. "And more specifically, people do yarnbombing on chain-link fences."
Christy landed on weaving brightly colored acrylic yarn into the chain-link fences near where she lives in geometric designs inspired by quilt patterns. The bright colors are eye-catching, but they feel light and airy because there are empty spaces between the different strands of yarn.
Other people in the community like them, too. Since most of the fences are on roads or walkways, passersby offer their support.
"I always feel the best when people stop, or not even stop — sometimes they slow down from their cars, or they're walking by, and they just say, 'We love it! We love what you're doing! This is so great!' It makes me feel so good because I'm doing this for the community, I'm not just doing this for me," Christy said.
Art brings people together like nothing else, and art like this works on a smaller scale. Maybe it just lends a bit of color or a smile to your day, but that's the beauty of it.
"I really like public art because you don't have to go out of your way to experience it," Christy said. "You just see it in the course of your everyday life."
This story was produced in a RadioActive Youth Media one-week Intro to Radio Storytelling workshop for high school-age youth. Production assistance by Iz Ortiz and Lily Turner. Prepared for the web by Charlotte Engrav.
Support for KUOW's RadioActive comes from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center and BECU.