Yarnbombing Adorns Potomac Footbridge

Bridge Decorations Remind Walkers to Smile During Hard Times.

First to appear on the railings of the footbridge on Falls Road just across from Falls Bridge Road were two large yarn balls. Soon other items were hanging along the railings and people started to notice.

What was going on, asked Katherine Chen who lives nearby and walks the footpath most every day.

Investigation led to Anya Caldwell, owner of the Fabric Art Studio in Potomac Promenade Shopping Center. Caldwell’s studio, along with most of Potomac Promenade is closed because of the CoronaVirus epidemic.

But, Caldwell said, she wanted to remind her students that she was still thinking of them and there were outlets for fabric crafts even while observing the County’s directive to quarantine.

“Yarn bombing has a whole history,” Caldwell said. “It is a way to bring smiles to people’s faces.”

According to Wikipedia: “Yarn bombing (or yarnbombing) is a type of graffiti or street art that employs colorful displays of knitted or crocheted yarn or fiber rather than paint or chalk. It is also called yarn storming, guerrilla knitting, kniffiti, urban knitting, or graffiti knitting.”

Caldwell started the Potomac yarnbombing when she hung the first yarn balls on the footbridge.

Though she did not ask students, who she stays in touch with via Zoom, to join in the Falls Road yarn bombing, they did.

Isabel Vorabhanda, a sixth grader at Hoover Middle School, created a pom pom chain and hung it on the bridge.

Isabel has been taking fiber crafts at Fiber Arts Studio since it opened four years ago, her mother wrote in an email.

“She heard about the yarn bombing project through Ms. Anya's emails to her students,” Sherry Vorabhanda wrote. “We also walk past the bridge whenever we take a walk or go bike riding. She thinks the yarn bombing project is cool and enjoys looking at other people's craft contributions to the bridge.”

Everything hung on the bridge is not handmade or even fabric craft. There is a tennis ball decorated with beads, a few small stuffed animals, and someone even hung hand sanitizer on a rail in the center of the bridge – surely a sign of the times and a reminder that in addition to happy thoughts and unexpected surprises, good hygiene will get us through.

“It’s fun, it’s a community effort, people are contributing and it’s wonderful,” Caldwell said.

Chen agreed.

“What fun!” she wrote in an email. “As I walk that way practically every day, I love seeing all the new creations.”

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