Forrest General Crafters Help Yarn Bomb Hattiesburg Pocket Museum
Samantha Clark, a clinical quality pharmacist at Forrest General Hospital and leader of the Hub City Crafters, helps wrap railing at the Hattiesburg Pocket Museum.
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (January 13, 2021) When Forrest General employees aren’t on the clock taking care of patients, they are still caring for Pine Belt residents. In this instance, they did it in a fun and very colorful way, and it kept them in stitches. Four Forrest General employees recently joined other crafters from across the community to help swath the Hattiesburg Pocket Museum in downtown Hattiesburg with brightly-colored knitted and crocheted pieces. Basically, they covered pipes, poles, railings and other alley finds with their own coats of many colors.
Samantha Clark, a clinical quality pharmacist at Forrest General, and the instigator of a group known as Hub City Crafters, headed up the project and recruited fellow crafty co-workers, Joy W. Pessoney, PharmD; Amanda Watts, Psy.D., BCBA, Pine Grove; and Linda Watson, ED pharmacist; as well as others to get the installation ready for its unveiling at the start of the new year.
Clark, who has been knitting and crocheting for about 12 years, cofounded Hub City Crafters almost 10 years ago. The group is comprised of local crafters from all walks of life. Until the pandemic began, the group met every Wednesday night for almost 10 years at T-Bones for crafting and socializing. “I was missing my friends, and thought this project would be a great way to do something together without actually being together,” said Clark of the 34 crafters involved in the project. “It was so much fun seeing the creativity people brought to the project.”
Seeing the joy the Hattiesburg Pocket Museum was bringing to the community, Clark wanted to join in the fun. She said several years ago for Art Walk, the Hub City Crafters “yarn-bombed” a block of Front Street. “I thought the Pocket Museum alley would be a great place to bring back that magic,” she said. “I made a Facebook post asking friends if they would like to be involved in a secret knitting/crochet project. As the project coordinator, I got two other people to help me measure every post, railing, pole, and other structure in the alley. We took pictures of all of the objects that could potentially be covered, and posted those to a private Facebook group. Crafters volunteered for which items they wanted to cover, and we got to work.”
Milo, curator of the Pocket Museum, was delighted with the outcome. “It is exciting to see such a beautiful kaleidoscope of artwork when I look out the museum window,” he said. “I know these new additions will cause even more people to come downtown to find the museum and all of the art, as well as bringing back many of my regular friends.”
While there was no real theme for the project, Clark asked crafters to use bright colors and their imaginations. That resulted in things like yarn bombing, Jeffrey the Yard Dude, wild sea creatures, a Meter Creature and other quirky crochet decorations.
Pessoney has been knitting since 2005, and learned from a kit. “It was definitely fun picking out colors and a pattern to use and seeing all of the super creative things other participants did,” she said. Pessoney wasn’t able to participate in the installation, but is anxious to see it in person.
For Watts, the project was so much fun. "I loved seeing what everyone else created and how it all came together. Each person having a different perspective and vision made it a very unique experience." Watts, who was taught by her aunt, has been crocheting since she was 12 and is a beginner at knitting.
“This whole project was just about spreading joy through craft,” Clark said. “Seeing pictures of smiling families visiting our crazy creatures and colorful alley has really made it all worth it.”
Be sure and make a trip downtown to see the brightly-colored installation during January, and perhaps longer if the weather is kind. The Hattiesburg Pocket Museum is located in the words of its curator, “in an alley in downtown Hattiesburg.”