South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

A little bit of spring pops up with Pop des Fleurs at the S.S. library

 

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh - South Side Library Manager Suzy Waldo and Jamie Earl place Pop des Fleurs in front of the library over the weekend. Neighborhood volunteers created more than 500 of the flowers needed to decorate the library.

Despite February's cold, dreary days, the city will soon be in full bloom thanks to Pop des Fleurs, a community outreach project of the Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh, preceding its Fiberarts International 2016 opening at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and Society for Contemporary Craft in May.

Carnegie Library - Main in Oakland (4400 Forbes Avenue) was chosen for the Fiberarts Guild's official Pop des Fleurs exhibit, six foot tall urns with flowers created by local fiber artists. A ribbon-cutting on Saturday, Feb. 6, at 11 a.m. there will officially kick-off the installations. Other locations across the city – including 16 Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh locations -- will be installed over the next few weeks for the public to enjoy until April 1. Sites are popping up as the idea spreads, the organizers report. A map is posted on the official website, http://www.popdesfleurs.com.

"We're grateful to Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh for their partnership and to Colcom Foundation for their generous support of Pop des Fleurs," says Lauren Sims, director of Fiberart International 2016.

"The blooms of color sprouting throughout the city are designed to get Pittsburgh excited about making fiber art in 2016. It is also a tangible way to connect the community to the Fiberarts Guild's prestigious fiber art exhibit, Fiberart International 2016, a celebration of artwork by the best fiber artists from around the world, including seven artists from Pittsburgh," Sims adds.

Believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, Pop des Fleurs was conceived by Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh member Annette Sandberg. Ms. Sandberg remembered how her friends and family had remained upbeat and connected during long, cold winters in her birthplace, Norway. The image that came to mind was her family home filled with flowers, candles and warm conversations in front of the fireplace. With the help of her daughter Shine, she came up with the name "Pop des Fleurs."

"Pop des Fleurs continues the energy, enthusiasm and community involvement of the Knit the Bridge project, when fiberart works in yarn covered the Andy Warhol Bridge for Fiberart International 2013," says Susan Swarthout, president, Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh.

A chance meeting of Ms. Swarthout and Susan Banks, deputy director, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, resulted in a partnership that will bring dozens of colorful and creative flowers to 16 Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh locations. "This project couldn't be more appropriate for the Library's mission to engage our community in literacy and learning, connecting neighbors and communities while they learn about different fiber arts," explains Ms. Banks.

The South Side Branch Library piloted the program last year with installations at the branch along with additional flowers at the South Side Welcome center and the South Side Market House.

This year, South Side volunteers made more than 500 flowers out of recycled materials such as plastic tablecloths and shower curtains to make the South Side's display the biggest. A special installation was created for the gazebo next to the library.

Volunteers from Pitt Serve helped South Siders to hang the flowers at the library and at the South Side Welcome Center this year.

An integral part of Pop des Fleurs is group learning sessions in homes, community centers and schools. Skill sharing groups taught community participants about various types of fiber techniques to create the beautiful and durable flowers. Pop des Fleurs uses its website and social media to share tutorials, information and updates.

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh locations and Fiberarts Guild members hosted workshops and provided space for individuals and groups to make several thousand flowers. Library staff, volunteers and patrons of all ages and the fiber artists themselves have spent months creating the imaginative foliage from largely repurposed materials – plastic bags and tablecloths, CDs, yarn, pipe cleaners, wire and more.

Flower designs vary and range in size from a few inches to a foot or more in diameter. Each installation is different, capitalizing on the site's unique outdoor elements and structures to showcase their flowers.

"Some locations may choose to keep their installations in place longer than April 1. They are such a unique and cheerful way to attract people to the Library," Ms. Banks says.

For a map of the growing number of Pop des Fleur installation locations and additional information, visit http://www.popdesfleurs.com

 

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