Signs of Spring

by Clara LaFrance | March 20, 2012

Today marks the first day of spring. It’s the Equinox and it has been unseasonably warm out here in the Northeast. If it seems as though spring is early this year, it is! confirms that the vernal equinox is, in fact, earlier than it has been since 1896. With sun on our shoulders and a bounce in our step we’re peering anxiously for signs of spring. The same signs emerge year after year, as harbingers of warmer days ahead. Peepers, crocuses, robins and yarn bombs. Yarn bombs?

Walking down the bike path yesterday in my small town, I spotted a handful of brightly colored knit cozies around tree branches. Yarn bombs are impermanent knit tubes around trees, sign posts and other unlikely landing places, created by local knitters to brighten the early spring landscape.

A San Francisco knitter decorated a bicycle, adding even more color to a green mode of transportation. Photo credit: Eli Carrico

The yarn bomb turned into an urban trend, targeting pedestrian walkways, footpaths and bicycle paths. The trend spurred Stop Sign Flower in Clairemont, Caliornia. The male knitter first learned to knit to help his young daughter with a poorly written learn-to-knit kit and found the activity meditative and pleasant. Soon, he created wire-supported knit leaves to transform stop signs into flowers. Spurned on by the sheer fun of unexpectedly brightening people’s days, he got some help, got some funding by way of Kickstarter, and has turned more than 20 stop signs into flowers.

“I put it up in the middle of the night—it must have been 11:30 or midnight. I wanted to make sure no one saw me doing it, and then chuckled all the way home and waited to see people’s reactions, ” says Bryan, the creator of Stop Sign Flowers.

With the warm rays of sunshine come other creative and non-traditional signs of spring.

Google Doodle, for instance. We all use Google fairly regularly (how did people not get lost without Google Maps or cook without googling recipes? How did anyone settle trivia arguments?) Google has entered our language and our lives; and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Google goes to lengths to ensure its audience (that is to say, nearly everyone) is aware of holidays and birthdays by altering its logo accordingly.

It’s spring, according to Google’s Doodle!

Google’s first Doodle appeared in late August of 1998, when the founders went to the Burning Man festival in Nevada. They inserted a stick figure behind one of the Os in Google to reference the festival and that they were “out of the office.” Since then, the Google logo has been elaborately altered for holidays, artist’s birthdays, the Olympics and the Anniversary of the Ice Cream Sundae (April 3rd, mark it!)

Today’s Doodle draws inspiration from Marimekko, a textile and fashion design company in Helsinki, noted for their use of unusually vibrant colors and large patterns.

Spring is in the air and so is sugar! Let your creativity go on a confectionary high at Racine Art Museum’s Third Annual Peeps Show. Use those squishy marshmallow chicks to create something new! (Applications are accepted through March 25th; there is still time!). Check out the Peeps Best in Show Dioramas from the Washington Post’s Peep competition (in case you needed inspiration).

Alissa Burke’s 2011 entry, Candy Warhol

The warm weather starts flowers blooming and birds chirping ahead of schedule. Check out Brendan Fitzpatrick’s photography, in which he uses X-rays as well as Photoshop to create delicate and beautiful photographs of flowers.

Fitzpatrick uses X-rays and Photoshop to create ghostly images of flowers and plants.

Use the unexpected spring-like weather to push your own art and to enjoy the world around you. What creative or unexpected signs of spring pop up in your neck of the woods?



Clara LaFrance is a freelance graphic designer when she is not pursuing her dreams as a circus teacher and performer. Clara has an M.F.A. in graphic design from Boston University.


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