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Yarn-bombings land in Red Wing

Rachael Hernlem, 10, and sister Gabby, 8, stand in front of a test-run for their next public art installment. The girls along with their mother, Veronica Hernlem, have been creating public art known as “yarn-bombing” throughout the community and plan for their latest piece to go up during River City Days weekend.

When Veronica Hernlem heard about the public art fad dubbed “yarn-bombing,” she had never seen an actual completed work in person. That was back in 2010 when the Red Wing resident was looking for a way to promote art for local kids.

Today, Hernlem is working on her third yarn art installment — this time, in quite possibly the most public location.

She and her two daughters, Rachael, 10, and Gabby, 8, plan on crocheting around the large tree outside of Caribou Coffee along Highway 61 in Red Wing.

The group’s first two public yarn-bomb creations can be seen inside the Pottery Place around a pole on the main level along with “Sticks” on the sidewalk of Third Street in downtown Red Wing.

After talking with business owners of her crocheting ideas, plans were made and she was given permission to move forward to complete her art project. As of now, the pieces will stay up and open to the public.

Hernlem, who owns the handmade rag-rug business Ronniengirls, says she was a teen when her grandmother taught her how to crochet.

Although she lived in the South growing up, Hernlem took road trips to her grandparents’ home in St. Paul where her imagination would be taken for a spin.

“She was very imaginative,” Hernlem recalls of her grandmother, “She would teach me how to make little dolls out of flowers and show me how to cut shapes out of old wallpaper sample books.”

As Hernlem began to learn how to crochet she says she remembers her grandmother just used to teach the basics.

“It was like, here are the basic tools and here is the direction you can go and then there you went,” she adds.

After reconnecting with crocheting six years ago, Hernlem says her motive behind the public yarn art was not to do something too artsy and unapproachable but rather something that people would want to incorporate into their own creativity.

“This would be visually something that is different,” she says, “That is a doable piece of art for the community and easy way to promote a fun art activity for parents and kids - like what I got from my grandmother.”

The third piece of yarn art along Highway 61 outside of Caribou Coffee is slated to be put up during River City Days.

As far as Hernlem’s yarn-bombing future goes, she already has more pieces in mind.

“I’d love to crochet a cape for the Lindbergh boy,” she enthusiastically added, referring to the statue at Bay Point Park. “That could be a project for next year.”

For more information about Hernlem and her homemade rag-rug pieces, find Ronniengirls or the Crafting Caravan on Facebook.

Stacy Bengs-Silverberg

Stacy Bengs has been a photojournalist at the Red Wing Republican Eagle since 2010. She holds a bachelors degree in journalism and art from the University of Minnesota.

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