The Yarn Tree
a Putnam Heights artist makes front yard nature her canvas
For five months a year, Wisconsin trees sit naked, void of leaves and color, giving our world a gloomy vibe. Well, folks, local artist Gail Schellinger is working to combat that at her Trimble Street home. After seeing a picture of a tree covered in a multitude of brightly colored knit work, Schellinger decided to try it herself. With the help of her 79-year-old mother, they crocheted enough yarn to cover the bulk of their tree, a process that took over two months of work to finish. “I am covering the tree because it draws attention to the artistic form of this natural tree,” she said. “Without the yarn, no one sees it. With the yarn, it becomes a sculpture.” The idea of it being a temporary piece of art is also a factor, Schellinger said. “Just as life itself is a temporary adventure, so is art. This is not a work to last forever. Many times people do not understand doing a great amount of work or putting in much effort, to produce something that lasts only for a little while, but in reality, it’s life itself which teaches us a lesson.” But when’s the sweater coming off? “Not until the squirrels take it down or another natural disaster takes the tree,” said Schellinger.