In the early eighties author Anne Herbert created the slogan "Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty." (Some versions have it as "Random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.") It was intended to provide an alternate vision to the proliferation of random violence and senseless acts of cruelty. Several books, including some by Herbert herself, have continued to document the "Kindness Movement."
I have recently become involved in a Yarn Bomb event in my hometown. Yarn Bombs involve creating an installing public art made from yarn. Our town was a booming industrial center, but a terrible downtown flood in the fifties and the export of many industrial jobs created a need for revitilization in our downtown area. That is happening, in part because of a very active arts and small business community. Some blighted areas have been cleaned up, but there are still problems. Often when I walk my dog I see discarded alcohol bottles. I started picking them up and tossing them in recycling bins. After a while, I started to become attracted to the design of some of the bottles. I wanted to find a way to transform them from an eyesore and a sign of despair into a sign of hope, kindness and beauty. I covered the bottles with yarn, using waterproof glue, and added decorative yarn flowers.
I'm also starting to do designs that involve knitting and crocheting covers for recycled containers. This is a peanut butter jar transformed into a whimsical vase.
I'm working with the members of the Center Congregational Church, UCC in Torrington to incorporate designs such as this into their participation in the Yarn Bomb. Under this concept, the vases would be distributed downtown have a tag attached explaining that they are created as a gift to whoever wants/needs some cheering up. This super fun, creative project allows people of all ages and abilities to participate in outreach ministries.