Tahlequah Daily Press

Features

June 12, 2014

‘Yarn bomb’ pays tribute to late professor

TAHLEQUAH — Clusters of color in the trees have probably caught the eyes of many people traveling past the corner of College Avenue and Delaware Street.

The garden area of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Tahlequah has been “yarn-bombed.”

Yarn-bombing is a form of installation art where people wrap knitted or crocheted pieces around objects. It’s not permanent like graffiti can be, but some organizations have used it as a form of protest. It still could be considered vandalism if done without permission.

This installation was achieved by members of a knitting and crocheting group from the UUCT. It was developed as a memorial for Dr. Tiffany Maher and was approved by the UUCT board of directors. The memorial has been expanded to include all of the UUCT congregation who have died in the past year: Maher, Roger Tilby, Sonya DePaula, and Corry Spoor-Weston.

“It was a gift for the church for those who have passed recently,” said UUCT member Elizabeth Montgomery-Anderson.

Montgomery-Anderson, a close friend of Maher’s and a member of the knitting group, explained that they wanted to do something creative and colorful in a place where everyone could see it.

“Tiffany was a colorful, fun, and interesting person,” said Montgomery-Anderson. “She was devoted to service in a thousand forms and helped get the knitting group off the ground.”

Maher was a professor at Northeastern State University and a UUCT youth group leader. She was murdered in Tahlequah at the end of May 2013. The man accused of killing her is in prison on other charges and is awaiting a preliminary hearing in the Maher slaying.

“Tiffany was the thread that knitted us together,” said Traci Clark, group member and close friend of Maher. “I wouldn’t have met most of these ladies without her.”

A group of church members, their families and children worked on the installation. Bits and pieces of yarn, failed or partial experiments, and granny squares were stitched together around trees and railings.

People walking by asked what they were doing and offered to help. One stranger even left and brought more yarn back. A NSU professor who was out of town mailed finished squares to be used in the project.

“They look like Dr. Seuss trees,” said Sarah Whittle. “Tiffany was so creative and always had a project in hand. She continues to be missed.”

The installation was scheduled to be up for two weeks, but the group keeps hearing such positive things that members hope to leave it up longer. To keep the spirit of vibrant life, it will be removed before it gets shabby and weathered.

sgourd@tahlequahdailypress.com

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