Interview: Community Yarnbomber Dani Shares Her Purls of Wisdom!
The wonderful yarnbomber Dani Ahrens is decorating the Community Bike Store in Cobden Road, Hanover with new knits every season. She visits the store every day and while she finds the resources there indispensable, she wanted to liven up the dull structure. Dani said: “I’d been looking at it and wondering what I could do to brighten it up, and then I went to see a lovely film, Yarn, with some friends from my local knitting group. The film featured some inspiring yarnbombers from around the world and gave me a final nudge to put my idle thoughts into action!”
The first of her seasonal creations was an autumnal tree complete with a ripe apple and falling leaves. She then created a snowman for the change of the season, but it wasn’t all smooth sailing with this wooly wonder. “A couple of weeks ago, the snowman was taken down and some kind person picked him up from the ground and brought him back to me,” said Dani, “so then I thought I’d better replace him with another wintry thing, and that’s why I made the hat dispenser. I think I wanted something that was more interactive, that people in the neighbourhood could join in with. It’s a variation on the idea of the community coat racks that people have set up in other places.”
The hat dispenser, which took Dani two weeks to stitch, has proved to be immensely popular; the hats are being taken faster than Dani can refill them. “I’m sure the hats will be replaced, as hundreds of people have liked the picture on Facebook and there have been lots of lovely comments. Hanover is a very generous community, so I’m confident the hat dispenser will work here.” Dani hopes the hats are being well-used by the homeless and needy in and around the city.
Dani moved to Brighton in 1987 to go to university and hasn’t left since. As a young woman, she was very involved in lesbian and gay rights activism. She was part of the campaign against Section 28 in the late 1980s that developed into Brighton Pride from 1991. She now has two teenage children. You can see more of her amazing creations, which combine stitching with community spirit and activism, on her website,
When she’s not busy stitching, Dani works at The Resource Centre, a local charity which supports small community groups by providing low-cost printing, equipment hire and useful information. Kind-hearted Dani is also training to volunteer as a welfare rights officer at the Brighton Unemployed Centre Families Project. You can see more of her amazing creations, which combine stitching with community spirit and activism, on her website Rebel Yarns. She’s also going to exhibit her knitted and crocheted pieces in the Artists Open Houses festival in May.
“I’ve got ideas for spring and summer, but I may change my mind about them, so I don’t want to say too much right now,” she added. We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled!