I was invited by Lowell Larson of the Greater Greenmount Community Association to create a temporary artwork for the garden that the community had been cultivating at the busy intersection of Greenmount and North Avenues in Baltimore City. I was immediately struck by the fence that surrounds the lot—an intimidating metal structure that looks like it is meant to keep people out. I felt that it was necessary to transform it in a fun, colorful way in order to draw attention to the garden behind it and to create a sense of welcoming.
I had recently been in Mexico learning to weave macrame mandalas and it seemed an appropriate medium to transform the fence. I teamed up with my friends and artistic collaborators Katey Truhn and Jessie Unterhalter, who had learned macrame while on a trip to Chile. We began the project in March by holding weaving workshops in the Peoples’ Homesteading Group offices on North Ave right near the garden, creating several mandalas out of cut-up t-shirts that we collected through donations and several trips to local thrift stores.
On April 20th, the Mayor’s Spring Clean-Up Day, while volunteers worked on the plantings at the Greenmount North Garden, we worked on the fence with several local community members to incorporate the existing mandalas into a large collaborative tapestry. We created one art piece made by many different hands, the coalescence of many ideas and colors and people into one cohesive work. In some parts of the fence the weaving was more dense than in other areas, the focus becoming the colorful community cloth, and in other places the weaving let light and a view of the garden through.