HATS off to Tony Broomhead!
The Sheffield-based artist hit the headlines after making a giant woolly bobble hat for a community art project in Leeds. But the cosy walked off and Tony was asked to make a replacement.
The news elicited a sympathetic response from members of the public who were eager to help… and he is now submerged beneath an avalanche of woolly balls.
But the enthusiasm has led to a public art project that everyone can join in.
Tony, of Banner Cross, was commissioned to transform two boring grey junction boxes into works of art.
One he painted, the other he covered with the giant stripey hat, hand knitted out of electric cable.
The idea of his wife, Aprille, it took months to plan and weeks of heavy-duty knitting to create. And it proved a popular feature until it disappeared one night – CCTV footage revealed it making its way unsteadily across a nearby road.
The footage was posted on the internet, in the hope of recovering the hat. But instead it triggered a rush of inquiries from people anxious to help with a replacement.
“We agreed to make a new bobble hat called 2Cosy and the original idea was that people who offered to help could make a pom-pom for the big hat. We expected about ten at a push.
“But the response has been amazing – we keep getting emails from strangers saying they are making pom-poms. It really seems to have captured people’s imagination.”
Tony already has more than 100 woolly balls plus another 50 on the way, made by pupils of Malin Bridge Primary School, and more arrive in the post each day.
2Cosy is due to be installed in Leeds tomorrow but Tony now has bigger ideas for the growing pom-pom collection.
“We thought each pom-pom should be displayed as part of its own exhibition, so we are going to display them as a field or hanging piece that people can walk through and see each one individually.
“It would be great to show it in a public space in Sheffield. We like the idea that someone can make something small and fluffy that doesn’t take long and requires little skill, but when this is put together with hundreds of others it is transformed into something amazing. This is proper public art.”
The project will now run until September: “We thought it might help keep kids busy over the summer holidays – who needs an Xbox when you can make a pom-pom?”
Contributions can be any size and colour.
They should be dropped off at chocolate shop Cocoa in Ecclesall Road, which has offered to collect them on Tony’s behalf.