PORT ARANSAS, Texas — If you’ve been to the beach in Port Aransas between January and March, you’ve probably seen Diana Vondra’s handiwork in the form of the yarn characters, or Bollard Buddies , that cover the bollards at the beach.
A few years ago, Vondra visited France, and saw a street that had been “yarn bombed”. As someone who loves to knit and crochet, it inspired her, and she started planning for the bollard creations; recently adding a new creation.
“We started with the bollards, and did a few of them, and it just keeps growing and growing. Then I decided, what the heck, let’s try for the tree look,” Vondra said.
Vondra started last year by decorating the tree outside her condo with a floral pattern that is several feet tall. Her neighbors complimented her on her creation, and since she had extra time this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she asked the neighbors if they would like one.
Vondra has created six tree decorations in total, with different design themes for each. The floral one outside her home is because she enjoys gardening, a fish decoration on a neighbor’s tree is for a little boy who lives there who loves to fish, and one covered in birds is to represent the birds of Port Aransas that everyone loves.
“It’s just to make people smile, and enjoy a little bit of whimsy,” Vondra said of her creations. “The way things are going in the world right now, I think we need some bright color and cheer, this time of year especially.”
Each tree decoration takes Vondra a few months to create. She starts with the background for each creation, then adds each part in time. When the design is finished, she gets on a ladder to wrap it around the tree, and knits it closed.
“There are no staples on the tree, nothing is harming the tree, it’s not glued to the tree or anything, it’s just there. When March comes, I’ll take them all down, they’ll all get cleaned and repaired, if they need it, and hopefully they’ll be ready for next year,” she said.
One day, Vondra hopes to have her creations lining a street in Port Aransas, but she said the city does not want her to put them on public property, so she will have to stick with trees in her neighborhood for now.
On Sunday, Dec. 27, the Bollard Buddies will be put on the beach in Port Aransas, and they will stay out until March. Vondra said this year she has more than 200 to decorate with.