Yarnbombing and it’s Gifts

30 Dec

154673-004-0779C27AI was reading around the web about yarnbombing and I found an article in Encyclopedia Britannica about yarnbombing from 2011. There was this tiny picture of a very nice yarnbomb with a little tag on it. I kept looking and looking at the tag and yes ! That nice yarnbomb in Encyclopedia Britannica was my yarnbomb ! The Russian and I put them up in 2011 at The Berkeley Rep theater. It funny and pleasing to find out you are slightly famous and don’t know it at all. Here is the story Here

In 2011 and 2012 I did lots and lots of knitted yarnbombing and the media was trending on it so we got lots of attention and articles about us. As time went on and I began to look for new things to try I started doing installations with museums. More time passed and I wanted something more and wasn’t sure what it was. I began to apply to artist residencies and grants and spent a lot of time struggling with on line applications, portfolios and deadlines. And then I had to cope with rejections which I did not have to with my streetart. Then something very good happened to me.

I was accepted to be an artist in residency for yarnbombing at The de Young Museum for one month for Dec 2014. It was announced in The Fine Arts Magazine that comes from The de Young museum so it feels official. I found out 3 months ago.

I’m so happy about this and it’s recognition of yarnbombing as part of the art and textile world. This residency is an open studio -Kimball Studio – at the museum.I will be there knitting and felting and setting up projects that will be available to the public to participate in a museum yarnbombing installation. I hope you will come by and yarnbomb with me.

IMG_0129IMG_0156Yarnbombs from a guerrilla knitting that The Russian and I did in 2010 at The de Young Museum in San Francisco. These images were used in my residency application.

Yarnbombing ; Tie Dyed Trees #3, #4

23 Oct

IMG_1677Trees 3 and 4 , can you see the red tree in the background ?

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I really like seeing all 3 trees in a row on Colusa Ave. It turns the corner into a little stage set.

I’m always grateful for people’s explanations of what I’m up too. I was putting up another felt tree tonight an a car full of people parked right next to me and got out and looked in silence for a long time. ” Getting ready for Halloween ?” the man finally said encouragingly.

” Oh for sure ” I said relieved. Although sadly, it has nothing to do with Halloween.

Sewing up these tiedyed trees at night has felt a lot more dubious than sewing knitting onto poles or should I say I feel more criminal. I can’t tell if this is a step forward or not. Mainly I like to see the finished trees, it’s thrilling to have the nerve again.

Yarnbombing Berkeley -Tie Dyed Tree # 2

16 Oct

blue tiedyed tree 2I was having a lot of trouble getting myself to put up my tie dyed felts on the trees of Berkeley. I kept wondering what would get me to start. Time was passing and it was getting closer to our rainy season when it would no longer be reasonable to hang felt outside.

So I tried scolding myself ” Don’t be a weenie ! ” I would say every morning. That never works.

So I thought about how I could support myself and make smaller goals. I decided to load all my sewing gear, cameras , step ladder and duffel of felt into the back of my ancient Isuzu Trooper so that I would have it all if I got the urge to vandalize. Than I told myself that I could just go and try out the felt on a tree, no sewing. Then I finally started putting them up.

I seem to be able to put up one tree a day. I sew them up at night. It’s very balmy at night here in Oct and I listen to the crickets .This is my second  tie dyed tree  on Solano and Colusa.

bluetiedyed tree

Yarnbombing – A New Beginning

15 Oct

tree 3” Have you seen my tie dyed trees ? ” I asked my friend Tony as I dragged him out the door of the store to see them . ” I made a bunch of theses big pieces of felt and then I tiedyed them . I made a lot of them so I could put up several at once ‘

Then I thought about what I said and I wanted to be more truthful ” Actually I made a lot of them first because they are really fun to make and I get nervous about standing out on the street and sewing them up. Even though I’ve only been stopped by police twice I still get nervous ” This is more true. Tony agreed that he too prefers sitting at his dining room table and doing his work more than  having to present it .

‘I tell myself ” This will be fun ! “Tony said ” I really try to believe it “

Sewing up these big trees is a little fun especially when small children come by and reach over and give the tree a hug. The plan is to put these tie dyed trees up all over Berkeley really quick before it rains. This is the first Berkeley tree.

tree 4Tiedyed tree 1a

Yarnbombing With Permission; The Town of Mendocino

5 Sep

IMG_1207Here in yarnbombing world we are all getting permission for our yarnbombing these days . Sometimes I have been asked to make something by a store or museum and sometimes I want to do something very ambitious and it seems more judicious to ask first. Or polite. I’ve learned 3 things from doing yarnbombing with permission.

1. People will let you yarnbomb almost anything if you ask very formally and gradually with good pictures.

2. Just because you have permission do not mean it won’t get stolen.

3.It’s a little boring to ask permission though you feel calmer when you put the work up.

As you know I yarnbombed The Mendocino Art Center this summer, The picture above is of their gallery yarnbomb. I’m using handmade felt now for my installations but I’m going to just keep cavalierly calling it yarnbombing. I thought it would be interesting to include some places in the town of Mendocino as part of the installation . I’ve always like to mark places that I love and enjoy with some of my color.

IMG_1248This is “The Moose Cafe ” , a restaurant that I revere for it’s chocolate pudding. It’s different sewing up panels of felt rather than knitting, it’s more like dresssmaking, it all has to be pinned and stretched tightly.

IMG_1249I’ve been coming to Mendocino for many years, when you vacation in the same place over and over it gives you a connected peaceful sense of time and a feeling of childhood.IMG_1269I recently found a new place to stay in Mendocino, ” Alegria “. It is heaven , I recommend you go up and stay there right away. To be able to do something wonderful for a long time you have to keep finding new ways to do it.

I yarnbombed with my handspun knitting for 2 years and i did more than any reasonable person who ever do-, ‘The Russian and I did well over 100 installations all over California. But I got tired of the problems, knitting getting taken , vitriolic arguments about yarnbombing on the internet. I also think we did everything we could think of to do. So I didn’t yarnbomb for months.

I thought a lot about what I liked about yarnbombing, how it interacted with the hardscape of the city in such a beguiling and colorful way, how you could show your art immediately with no intermediaries, how much media interest there was compared to gallery art. Eventually I came up with the idea of using my handmade felt the way I had used my knitting, make sheets of painterly felt and put them up on trees, buildings and street furniture.

I’m really liking the new look of the felt and it’s speed but I know for some people it has to be knitting or crocheting to relate. But you have to go where you feel the passion.

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Extremely Large Yarnbombs

3 Sep

andy-warhol-knitted-bridge-designboom-06This is the Andy Warhol bridge in Pittsburgh , Penn. by the Pittsburgh Fiberarts Guild . There are 600 crocheted and knitted panels, it will be up from Aug 12 to Sept 6 2013. Image source

There’s some nice symbolism here, art on a bridge named after an artist, the yarnbombing was meant to bridge the different parts of Pittsburgh, it all went up during a huge fiber arts show. Very ambitious and sustained work.1175629_10151847541028523_101957608_nhere are 153 yarnbombed trees made to welcome The 2013 Seniors Games in kamloops, British Columbia on Aug 19 2013.This was organized by The Kamloops Art gallery.  Image source

I really like anything that ties together yarnbombing and senior citizens. There has been so much ridiculous snickering about grannies and granny graffiti and knitting being silly because traditionally older woman have knit. And knitting and older woman are both wonderful, powerful and useful so no more silly remarks. Please.

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This is The Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles yarnbombed by Yarnbombing Los Angeles ,it was up May 25 to June 1 2013. 500 knitters and crocheters made 14,ooo granny squares to cover this building, 2 people made 600 a piece. There were even square that were smuggled out of Iran. Image source

This is so wonderful, covering a whole building and turning it into an act of playful imagination. It’s also another example of yarnbombing netting together people all over the world by using social media to communicate instantly and lavishly.

Fun And Playful Yarnbombs

1 Sep

923334_10151673849680844_2062194838_nHere we have a yarnbombed wooly mammoth brought to you by the folks who yarnbombed an airplane – The Yukon Yarnbombers. They made it for The Canadian Museums Conference in May 2013 . Image source

Some people would say all yarnbombing is by it’s nature fun and playful but some pieces have a more outrageous playfulness and remind us that there is no greater meaning in our days than having a little fun.

Marcy_Kraft_yarnbombed_self_r620x349This is Marcy Kraft of Crochet Grenade who made 3 crocheted Rubik cubes as a guerrilla action for Comic Con in San Diego, Ca on July 29 2013.  As you can see – she also yarnbombed herself. Image source

1069938_562588147136954_2023441764_nThis is a giant knit croquet set by Suzanne Tidwell made for Carkeek Park in Seattle , Washington called ” Half Court Croquet ..  .Anyone ?” it went up July 13 , 2013 image source

Suzanne Tidwell has solved that perennial urge to make ever larger art by employing a knitting machine and some minions to help her run it. I admire the scale in which she works and the cool commissions she gets,  she just did a big commission yarnbomb for the new Google office in Seattle and she has sold yarnbombs to collectors.

I’m always interested in what people do with their yarnbombs when they take them down, I know Suzanne repurposes them into wine cozies and art objects.

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