In a scholarly article on the seemingly unlikely topic of "yarn bombing" -- the act of decorating utility poles, fire hydrants and other public structures with knitted and crocheted works -- Baylor University professors Leslie A. Hahner and Scott J. Varda called it "a chic enterprise" and "an aesthetic regime that situates guerrilla needlework as an exceptional contribution to the urban landscape."

In a scholarly article on the seemingly unlikely topic of "yarn bombing" -- the act of decorating utility poles, fire hydrants and other public structures with knitted and crocheted works -- Baylor University professors Leslie A. Hahner and Scott J. Varda called it "a chic enterprise" and "an aesthetic regime that situates guerrilla needlework as an exceptional contribution to the urban landscape."

To Clintonville resident Stacey Durst, it was her summer project.

Durst has spent the season "bombing" a utility pole and chain-link fence on the east side of the 4100 block of North High Street near Overbrook Drive.

Kristen Marra Marek, owner of the Paper Moon Art Studio children's education business directly across the street, called it a point of pride for her students when she affixed some examples of their works to the fence.

City officials termed it "artem non gratis."

According to Durst and Marek, on the morning of Oct. 3, a city crew completely removed a utility-pole cozy and yarn items decorating the fence.

A request for comment left with Carla Williams-Scott, director of the city's relatively new Department of Neighborhoods, was responded to by John Ivanic, assistant director of the Department of Public Utilities.

"We appreciate Ms. Durst's efforts to beautify the neighborhood, but, unfortunately, we cannot allow anyone, even with the best intentions, to decorate poles or fences that are in the right of way and maintained by the city," Ivanic wrote in an email. "We look forward to working with her to find new ways to celebrate public art in our community. We encourage Ms. Durst and others to work with the Columbus Art Commission, the group that must approve art in the right of way, to examine specific times and places when these displays could occur."

"I was looking for something that gave me a sense of completion," Durst said. "I decided it was going to be my summer project. I was going to knit for the telephone pole at the end of my street. I'd walk up at 5 in the morning in the cover of darkness."

"I think that I was really sad and shocked that it was gone," said Marek, who first noticed the yarn-bombing installation had been removed at 10:45 a.m. Oct. 3. "It came down in a flash."

Durst said she called 311 on Oct. 4; the person she spoke with indicated the removal was the result of a complaint.

"I knew it was always going to come down," Durst said. "I guess I was surprised that it was so offensive that it required a complaint. On the other hand, I'm sure people looked at what we were doing and wondered, 'How did you have so much time to knit those things for the telephone pole?' "

"It was great to look at while it lasted," Marek said. "That's the chance you take when you put art out in public without getting a permit. I think the kids and adults who put the weaving on the fence enjoyed the process.

"As far as Paper Moon is concerned, we will not put any more art on the fence. We did that. We're ready to move on to somewhere else."

Durst said after she shared the story of the yarn-bombing's removal on social media, someone returned to the scene of the "crime" and put yarn bands back around the utility pole, hung framed children's artwork on the fence and even placed colorful sunglasses in the links.

"It was the Clintonville love-fest type of vibe that is the good part of Clintonville," Durst said. "I was really moved by that. I loved that this community got back on board with us."

kparks@thisweeknews.com

@KevinParksTW1