River Forest workshop, nonprofit to give Lake Street 'Splash of color'

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By Anna Lothson

Staff Reporter

Two local groups are joining forces with the Village of River Forest to bring color and diversity to Lake Street.

As part of a program called "Be a Craftist," developed by Little Bits Workshop proprietor Liita Forsyth, the local nonprofit organization Opportunity Knocks and the Village of River Forest will join Little Bits to craft, garden and send a "Heart Message" to the community.

The project will include planting one of the flowerbeds in the Lake Street Planters between Park and Franklin Avenues, creating and hanging banners from the street lamps and starting to knit and crochet 'Yarn-Bombs' for the trees under the banners.

On Monday, the group created banners at Little Bits and on Wednesday, the group delivered flowers for the Lake Street planter box for people from Opportunity Knocks to begin planting. This will be the first installment of Opportunity Knock's "Gardening on the Go" program where the group will venture out into the community to garden.

According to Forsyth, a "Craftivist" is a person who puts a heart message out into the world through something beautiful and creative without being destructive. The "Heart Message" of this effort is acceptance and respect for those with disabilities.

On Friday, June 15, at 4 p.m., the groups will be out again on Lake Street, finishing their planting, hanging the banners and placing the first of seven "Yarn Bombs" on the trees. The banners will tout phrases that capture Forsyth's "Heart Message" about growing opportunities together. Each banner will have a message and an image to symbolize it. The banners will be made by participants in both the Little Bits Workshop and the Opportunity Knocks after school program.

Email: anna@oakpark.com Twitter: @AnnaLothson

Reader Comments

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Susan Marie from River Forest  

Posted: June 21st, 2012 8:22 PM

As a knitter involved in this project, I would like to assure you that we have carefully researched the type of yarn being used. I checked the one yarn bomb which is already up today after this morning's downpour and it was not the least bit wet. Our hope is that the positive attention drawn to this project will outweigh personal aesthetics.

Kmegc from River Forest  

Posted: June 19th, 2012 8:08 PM

I hope that someone has checked on what covering the tree bark will do to the tree. When people were putting plastic ribbon and bows (mostly plastic ones) around trees, the trees got a mold or some type of an unhealthy blight-looking ring under the covering. It was keeping moisture in and not letting the bark breathe. Will this damage the trees, producing an unexpected and unwanted by-product of a good intention?


Posted: June 19th, 2012 4:27 PM

Have to agree with Freespirit and Brad. I like the natural look of trees in the summer. This concept might work better during Christmas Season, just a thought. Good program though.

Oak Park from brad@aol.com  

Posted: June 19th, 2012 2:16 PM

These "yarn bombs" are absolutely beyond tacky. Yuck. I hope someone reconsiders this or makes quick disposal of these with a pair of scissors. I wouldn't want to look at this nonsense on the main corridor through town on a daily basis.


Posted: June 19th, 2012 11:06 AM

It's my opinion, but I don't like the trees being decorated with yarn. To me, it looks tacky. I hated them on the Oak Park ave. stretch and don't care for them in River Forest. Our trees are beautiful enough, they don't need tacky 'sweaters' on. Why not teach the kids to make quilts and afgans and give them as gifts to the homeless shelters or nursing homes? These people would be so happy to have something homemade and the visit would be well worth your time.

Liita Forsyth from River Forest  

Posted: June 18th, 2012 11:03 PM

Perhaps a little clarification would help. Last week the focus of our camp at The Little Bits Workshop was to teach young campers to respect and accept those with disabilities through the vehicle of craft. Kids learned to sew by hand while we talked about the many practical ways that each of them could learn to interact with their own classmates, neighbors or family members who have disabilities. "Craftivism" is a fusion of activism and craft. Diversity, though important too, was not our focus.

Ann from OPRF  

Posted: June 15th, 2012 4:09 PM

Celebrate Diversity


Posted: June 14th, 2012 1:52 PM

This article is a little strange in that it doesn't explain what the Opportunity Knocks program does, and then it talks about the project as "promoting color and diversity." It's not entirely clear what the "diversity" is--though there's the broad allusion to accepting those with disabilities. Furthermore, it seems a little more than coincidental that the accompanying picture is of a young African-American girl

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