By: Julieta Hernandez Photos by: Rachel Benavides
When Diana Vondra and her husband were walking through the streets of Avignon, France, they turned the corner onto an unusually colorful street.
“It was completely decorated in bright, vivid colors of yarn, crocheted and knitted, on everything from trees, bike racks, door knobs…” Vondra recalls. “Everything was decorated, and it was so fun, and I immediately thought of Port A.”
Yarn-bombing, also known as guerrilla knitting, is a world-wide phenomenon and an adorable form of street art. While Vondra met yarn-bombing in France, she later learned that it actually originated in Austin, Texas.
With the help of the community, Vondra began the Bollard Buddies, the Port Aransas yarn-bombing experience that invited knitters from all ranges of experience to help bring color to the beach. Going on five years, the movement started with roughly 82 adorably knitted bollards and has grown to more than 250 presently.
The yarn-bombing, an unfamiliar concept to South Texans, was met with community astonishment.“In the beginning, it was like, ‘What is that? What’s happening down there?’ and then it just got to be that people have begun to take pride in the fact that this is here,” Vondra smiles. “People come down, they take pictures, they watch over them, they even help me put them up.”
When it’s time to attach the creations to the bollards, more and more crowds join every year, even if they aren’t knitters, to secure them properly and safely.
The bollard buddies are created for Port Aransas by a circle of people stretching from those living within the Coastal Bend to winter Texans and pen-pals, even a couple of anonymous knitters. These colorful pieces live in Port Aransas beaches with regular maintenance throughout the winter months, usually also aided by the community.
With Bollard Buddies that circle throughout the year, there are some that become “unemployed” and retire; however, they are re-purposed in adorably unconventional ways. Besides snapping photos visiting different restaurants and bars in town, the retired Bollard Buddies live on with making a band and having concerts. Their band’s YouTube videos can be found on the group’s Facebook page, as well as candid snapshots of their wild parties and adventures.
You can meet the Bollard Buddies during their timeline on the beaches, though in high summer months they are put away to avoid intense sun and beach traffic. And if you find yourself to be an aspiring Bollard Buddy contributor, Diana has teamed up with the local parks and recreation department to create an instructional video with the bollard measurements. Check out their official Facebook page, yarnbombinginporta, for updates and information on the fuzzy yarn friends.