WHITEHORSE - An historic wartime DC-3 will be subject to a different kind of bomb in the coming weeks as a group of Yukon fibre artists knit and stitch a giant tea-cozy-like covering on the plane to raise awareness of the fibre arts.
Over the next few weeks, the 70-year-old Whitehorse landmark will be so-called "yarn-bombed," or covered by a number of donated knitted pieces sewn together.
“It’s probably going to be the largest yarn bomb in Canada; we’re trying to see if in the world,” said Casey McLaughlin, curator of the Yukon Transporation Museum and initiator of the project.
The DC-3, registered in Canada as CF-CPY, was originally built in the U.S. in 1942 and has flown in the U.S., China and India.
In 1946, CEO Grant McConachie bought the plane for Canadian Pacific, a company McConachie started after combining smaller firms he owned in the Yukon and Alberta.
The plane was flown for the last time in 1970, but it was picked up and restored by the Whitehorse Flying Club four years later.
McLaughlin said while the target of the yarn bombing is clearly unusual, so is the way the project came about.
“It’s a unique group, it’s not very common,” she said. “In Ottawa, a museum can’t just phone an arts centre and say, ‘Hey, let’s just do this.’”
McLaughlin said she came up with the idea while travelling in Vancouver with a friend.
“We were walking through Lighthouse Park and there was this little, old, rusted sign post — no sign anymore just a sign post — completely forgotten, and someone had made a cozy for it," she said.
At the time, McLaughlin said she thought to herself: “What a cool idea.”
That started a conversation with Jessica Vellenga, a member of the Yarn Bomb Yukon Collective, about yarn bombing the DC-3.
“When Casey approached me with the idea, I said, ‘Yeah, I can make this happen,’” said Vellenga.
She has been yarn-bombing around town with friends all winter.
As an artist and staff member of the Yukon Arts Centre focusing on community engagement, Vellenga said, “starting this project was really an extension of my art practice, which is community-based and fibre arts-based ... This just sort of tied in perfectly.”
“The whole process has been to get people engaged and enthused about fibre arts.”
McLaughlin’s said the DC-3 yarn bombing is a new and creative way to get the community engaged with the museum, especially with federal funding cuts to arts and heritage.
“Most museums are so stale, people walk in there and they’re like, ‘Don’t touch anything,'" she said.
“For me, it’s an opportunity to get the community connected with our collection and it’s great because everybody that’s donated is going, ‘So, it’s a DC-3? What’s a DC-3? What’s its history?’”
The tentative date for the fitting is Aug. 11.