Crocheted hearts from all over the world will soon be mounted on chain-link fences in Innisfail to show love to patients in the local hospital and residents of a nearby seniors’ home.
Entrepreneur and artist Karen Scarlett launched the Community Heart BOMB Project in January. She thought at the time, “wouldn’t it be nice if we had a couple of hundred hearts. It would be easy to put them up on a fence” for the benefit of residents at the Autumn Grove Seniors’ Lodge and the Innisfail Health Care Centre.
Scarlett posted a free crochet heart pattern to social media and was soon”shocked” when fibre hearts began arriving from as far as Holland, Texas, Atlantic Canada, Northern Ontario and British Columbia.
“We had one lady in Ireland who was getting her whole family crocheting,” she recalled, with a laugh. “A lot of people have embraced this and wanted to be part of the joy of it.”
Soon the antique travel trunk that’s holding the collection was overflowing with more than 3,000 hearts.
Scarlett was initially overwhelmed by the response, but the community came to her rescue.
The Innisfail Welcoming and Inclusive Community Committee, the Innisfail Art Club, and many sponsoring businesses are joining together to hold a Community Heart BOMB Installation Party on Saturday, June 3, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the site at 4035-50 Ave. in Innisfail.
Anyone interested in helping attach fibre hearts to the fences is invited to help, and enjoy some food and musical entertainment.
Innisfail Art Club president Wilma Watson said she’s been very excited to see the thousands of hearts arriving in time for the install party. She noted the colourful crocheted hearts, as well as some knitted, quilted, macrame-ed and hand-stitched ones, will help brighten the town and bring people together.
Scarlett, whose grandmother, Ethel Scarlett, was a founding member of the original Innisfail Art Club, spent decades away working in creative fields in Red Deer, Calgary and New York City. But after leading the volunteer-driven painting of the Welcoming and Inclusive Mural at the Innisfail Coffee Cottage last year, Scarlett fell in love with her hometown’s community spirit and decided to move back to Innisfail.
She now sees her mission as helping stir up some “magic” in her hometown through the creative arts.
“Experiencing the joy of a community coming together is a very powerful thing,” she said. “Now it is time to keep the creativity building… I only hope that this installation party will be another step towards activating more creative opportunities I have planned.”
Scarlett’s Grandma Ethel, who “wanted everyone to experience the joy of making …would be pretty thrilled with this project,” added Scarlett.
Although weather will take a toll on the fibre hearts once they are installed, so many seniors in town have enjoyed crocheting and knitting that Scarlett believes they will keep an eye out for damage and create replacement hearts, as a way of continuing the community beautification project.
For more information about the project, please visit innisfailartclub.org/crochet.