on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 3:37:00 PM
When you think of street art, you probably don’t imagine
colorful, cozy yarn and knitting needles. But the yarn bombing movement has
created a new brand of street art with a simple message: enjoy the beauty and
joy around you. Let’s take a look at this wonderful new form of “graffiti.”
Bombing: Moving the Needle on Street Art and Knitting
The ladies and gentlemen of the “yarn bombing” movement can
be found all over the world. Once thought the domain of grandmas in their
rocking chairs or knitting circles during war time, knitting and crocheting has
gained popularity in recent years among the younger people, particularly women,
of society all over the globe. Websites and blogs abound with info and free
patterns for engaging with needles and yarn. And a few brave souls have taken
their talents to the gritty urban streets. Londoners may have cozies on their
teapots, but New Yorkers have had cozies on their parking meters!
World’s a Stage
Yarn bombing began in the early days of the 21st
century as a new form of unoffensive graffiti. It was viewed as creative,
humorous, and anything but old-fashioned. Colorful cozies began appearing in
cityscapes across North America and Europe. Soon, statues were seen wearing
scarves, mittens, and hats. Trees were turned into blue squids with big eyes.
Playgrounds became fuzzy, rainbow-striped feasts for the eyes, as well as for
the kids. London, Copenhagen, Madrid, Montreal, New York, and beyond, the
world’s largest cities have become the backdrops and props for knitting bombers.
But what makes yarn bombing so different? For one thing,
most knitting bombers take responsibility when displaying the craft in their
city. An important facet of yarn-bombing etiquette is to return to your project
and remove it once it becomes tattered, dirty, or otherwise unappealing. Their
work is considered by most, including many city leaders, as art installations.
Urban knitting may have come about as a way for knitting and
crochet devotees to use up their leftover small bits of yarn in a creative,
public, humorous way, but it can also provide an outlet for conveying an
important message or commentary on social issues. Sometimes yarn bombing is
meant to do nothing more than bring a smile to a stranger’s day.
So, the next time you head downtown, take a look around you.
Don’t be surprised if you see a parking stanchion keeping warm with a
multicolored cap, or a light fixture wearing a crocheted tassel. Don’t panic or
shake your head in wonder. Impress your friends and explain to them that,
congratulations, your city has been the victim of colorful, feel-good yarn
bombing. You might even want to pick up some yarn and needles to see what you
can bring a softer side to in your own community!
See some fun examples of yarn bombing here.