'Yarnbalmer' installation at Woodcock Nature Center in Wilton

Beginning in April, hikers can expect a bit more decoration on the trees at the Woodcock Nature Center in Wilton. An artist known as

Beginning in April, hikers can expect a bit more decoration on the trees at the Woodcock Nature Center in Wilton. An artist known as “Yarnbalmer” has installed crocheted yarn art along a familiar section of trail at the center, at 54 Deer Run Road in Wilton.

Contributed photo

WILTON — Beginning this month, hikers can expect a bit more decoration on the trees at the Woodcock Nature Center, as an artist known as “Yarnbalmer” has installed crocheted yarn art along a familiar section of trail there.

Visitors will enter the main trail head across from the Nature Center building, and, only a short distance in, be greeted by a grove of 14 brightly-wrapped trees. The installation also features silhouettes of some familiar forest creatures and beloved animal ambassadors of the Nature Center.

“We are always looking for new and different ways to encourage our community to experience nature,” said executive director Lenore Herbst. “We are thrilled to welcome the warm, colorful, whimsical art of Yarnbalmer and hope everyone finds time to visit this spring.”

The work was commissioned by Ridgefield Magazine and Wilton Magazine, and will remain through the summer.

The “Yarnbalmer,” Knitiot Savant, has been knitting since she was 14. She kept out of typical teenage trouble by indulging in her worsted remnant collection for experimental sweater creations. A textile designer who escaped fashion only to be brought back into it, she made fiber art her routine as a means of expression.

Savant’s hobby has given her a way to stay creative amid the coronavirus pandemic. What began as small-scale cozies for sign posts has evolved, inspiring colorful messages of hope during unprecedented times.

“Knitting has given me a way to harness my anxiety during this highly unusual time,” she said. “It gives me a sense of invincibility to sneak out at night and hide my work in plain sight. The response I have received in my own community drives me to bring this special attraction to other areas.”

Savant’s installation at Woodcock, titled “aKNITdote,” is part of an ongoing mission to redirect energy away from negativity and turn the community’s gaze towards positivity.

“I set out to release aKNITdote to the public as a way to interrupt or at least change the conversation,” Savant said. “The seriousness of world affairs in every arena, albeit important to discuss, sometimes requires a balance for levity and perspective.

“Yarnbalming offers a comfortable, benevolent, humorous relief from all that is reality,” she continued. “I strike at random but have been moving towards a more comprehensive model of creating groupings of yarnbombs, which becomes an installation of sorts. My targets have included popular [jogging] routes, secret pathways, testing sites and hospitals.”

Savant is available for private art installations upon request.

The trails at the Nature Center (54 Deer Run Road, Wilton) are open daily from dawn to dusk. Visitors are also encouraged to explore its nearly four miles of trails, unique nature playground and outdoor aviaries, which are part of the center’s 150-acre public preserve.