Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Yarnbombing, or Knit Graffiti

O.k., I know I promised to post the recipe for a "Savory Sundae" with yogurt, beets, and poppy seeds, and it will be posted soon I swear, but big news has come up!

Coming home last night from an evening of beers and veggie tacos, I was delighted to find a package from Canada waiting for me. Could it be... the hottest guerrilla crafting book on the market!

Thanks so much to the lovely ladies Leanne and Mandy at Arsenal Pulp Press for putting this book together. The photos look great, the pages are chock full of tips, interviews, links, and great quotes. I promise there are no other craft books like it!

Since the beginning of the handmade renaissance several years ago, there's been a lot of rebellious crafting going down. The popularity of a book named Stitch N' Bitch. Cross-stitching @#$*&^ instead of "Bless this House." Embroidering pin-up girls and martini glasses. Even making your own reusable pads and tongue-in-cheek aprons. And knit graffiti.

You'll have to read YARN BOMBING to find out the myriad reasons why and how people decide they want to start sewing fuzzy sleeves onto bike racks, or cover a tree in lace. If you've ever seen a piece of knit graffiti in person though, the instant draw is pretty obvious.

A knitted cozy on a tree, lampost, or the like is a shock of color in the otherwise common place scenery. It's a fuzzy texture against the brick and metal of the city, a bit of playfulness where you least expect it.

One of the things I love the most is that it's a reminder that it's o.k. to be silly and do weird things. Knit graffiti treats the world as a place to be shaped, to be made into something beautiful, instead of a place in which we are just some spectator.

And, along with all this other radical sewing, canning, and gardening action going on, knit graffiti is a way to subvert the seemingly tame world of home-making skills into something new and fresh again.

I live right across the street from a knit-covered tree and telephone pole, and I've seen the crowds of people stop, smile, take photos, or just plain stroke the wool on an inanimate object. It's a sweet thing to see.

I don't want to give too much away, but there are a lot of great photos and quotes from BaltimoreDIY. My project submission was for interactive, multi-media tags that other guerilla crafters could add to knit graffiti around town. Keychains, felt appliques, buttons, and screenprinted patches are all great ways to leave your mark around the city, creating an ongoing conversation in a small physical space. Sounds complicated, looks cute!

I'll wind up here and leave you with a list of good links.

Lovely Yarns my local yarn store with some great knit graffiti out front:

Yarnbombing Mandy and Leanne's site:

Knitta one of the first and most well known inspirations to the genre:

Masquerade their cozy of a mooring ring on a dock inspired me to start doing knit graffiti of my own, and I am forever indebted to @heyjakesollins as usual for introducing me to the idea:


And the Yarn Bombing Flickr Group

Of course I'm sure there are many, many other sites and taggers that get mentioned in the book. These are just the ones that I have been personally involved with in some way.

I definitely recommend this book for everyone interested in subcultures, street art, crafting, or radical action of any kind.

1 comment:

JafaBrit's Art said...

I haven't seen the book yet, but I heard it is VERY cool! I can't wait to see all the work in it.
thanks for the shout out.

Hope all is going well in one of my fave cities :)

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