Tigalo grand opening snowed out, but Ladies Fancywork Society can't be stopped

The Ladies Fancywork Society strikes again. The group known for yarn-bombing Denver -- with everything from a ball and chain on the big blue bear outside of the Colorado Convention Center to a crocheted garden outside Union Station just unveiled a new piece. And unlike the Ladies's street bombings, this one's going to stay around for a while.

The installation was supposed to be unveiled at the Tigalo Block Party (the celebration of Fancy Tiger and Buffalo Exchange opening in a shared space on Broadway) last Friday, but the snowstorm pushed the party to this coming Friday. Snow be damned: The Ladies put their piece up anyway, and the new crocheted deer sculpture will grace the walls of the new Fancy Tiger location indefinitely.

The antlers of the crocheted mounted deer bust span about eight feet, tip to tip. Esther (all of the Ladies use their grandmothers' names as pseudonyms) says she learned a lot about taxidermy, of all things, in the process of creating this installation with cohorts Maxine, Lucy Lynn and Jeanne Lois.

"Jaime, the owner of Fancy Tiger, had a deer form, and that's apparently how taxidermy works," she explains. "You buy a form, in this case shaped like a deer, and then you stretch the skin over it. That's kind of grotesque, but she had the deer form, and then we had the materials. We only had to come up with something to do with it."

So the Ladies decided to crochet the "skin" of the deer around the form and shape the antlers themselves out of plumber's epoxy, spray installation foam and armature wire. The armature wire presented quite a challenge for the Ladies, says Esther.

"We made the antlers ourselves because it's really hard to come across antlers, believe it or not," she says. "We spent forever figuring out how to make them. We had blisters and open wounds from twisting them together -- it was a little ridiculous. My boyfriend did a lot of the work on the antlers, which was super-helpful. He'll have to be an honorary Fancy Gentleman, or something."

Some of the Ladies work at Fancy Tiger, which is how they were hooked up with the gig, but they'd appreciated Fancy Tiger's mission long before that. "Fancy Tiger has been a cornerstone in the craft community, so we've actually been working with them for a few years," says Esther.

Aside from working on the piece for Fancy Tiger, the Ladies have also been preparing for their Artopia installation that will be unveiled on February 18. Esther wouldn't divulge the details of the piece, but she promises it will be worth waiting for. And she promises that the Ladies Fancywork Society, which includes a couple of other Ladies besides the four women (and one gentlemen) involved on the Fancy Tiger project, will continue to work their craft magic.

"We're not going anywhere," she says. "We really enjoy what we do and it's great having friends that you work so well with -- we always have an amazing time. Each of our installations are getting more progressive, and that's what we enjoy -- going in new directions."

The Tigalo Block Party has been rescheduled for this Friday, February 10, at 7 p.m., at 51, 55 and 59 Broadway. For more information,visit the event's Facebook page. For more information about the Ladies Fancywork Society, visit the group's webpage.

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