Yarnbombing And The Real Purpose of Bike Racks : Awaken Cafe

22 Feb

I went off to yarnbomb Awaken Cafe in Oakland .  It was a celebration for their Opening Day. This was a request yarnbombing . The owner Cort Dunlap , saw my bike racks at Lake Merritt and  found me on Facebook . I get requests for yarnbombing pretty often and they can be a little complicated . For instance I might get lost trying to find the place . Or the energy of the site might be very unfamiliar and I find it harder to ground myself..

I drove around and around and around and finally there it was – Awaken Cafe ! I went in and saw that it was a surprisingly big , open, elegant space . I met Cort who is full of joy and enthusiasm and we went out and looked at the 2 racks . A kind  barrista came outside and moved her bike off one rack and I started sewing .

Yarnbombing out on a big city street in the middle of the day can be stressful . I was a little uncomfortable. I felt my breathing. I looked around for things to enjoy and admired the look of the swooping buses. I appreciated the handspun wool in my knitting.

A woman came up to the bike rack with her bike and started to lock up her bike

.” I’m sorry would you mind using one of the other racks? ” I said “There are some over there .  Awaken cafe asked me to put up this yarnbombing for their opening . “

Her face got cold and still .  She glared at me. I was very surprised . I often ask riders to leave a rack free when I’m putting up and every one has always been very genial. She was out raged

A man friend of her came rushing  over .

” This is not what these are for ! ” He yelled at me . ” You are impeding our access ! “

I was so shocked by this idea that my mind left the conversation and I started thinking deeply. Bike racks are only for bikes and not for making art with ? I couldn’t grasp this . I stared into space thoughtfully as he continued to berate me. Isn’t every thing  , every object a possible material for playing with , for making art. Isn’t the whole world something wonderful to play with in any way possible ? Are bike racks forbidden art  objects ?

Help appeared suddenly. “This is art ! ‘ A woman said strongly  ” This is an art co op ! ‘

It is ? I was getting very confused .”No , it’s just me . ‘ I said .

“Oh you young people . ” The woman shook her finger at the angry bike people  .” You don’t understand art ! “

‘ The man started yelling at my defender. I stood up and moved aside  while the riders huffily locked up their bikes and stomped off .  I looked down at their bikes and for one delicious, vengeful, moment thought of yarnbombing them . Put I knew they would just cut it all up so I refrained.

A big man in full gangsta rap clothing came walking by . He looked down at the yarnbombing and a big smile came over his face . He nodded at me approvingly .

“That’s cool ! ” he said .

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8 Responses to “Yarnbombing And The Real Purpose of Bike Racks : Awaken Cafe”

  1. Sue February 23, 2012 at 8:04 am #

    clap clap clap clap clap Awesome job!!! you held your cool, something that i would have had a hard time not to respond to, not nastily but at least something would have come out of my mouth.
    They look wonderful too!!!

  2. Laurie February 23, 2012 at 11:40 pm #

    Aargh….welcome to Oakland! As an Oaklander I personally apologize. I helped fund that cafe with a couple of dollars during their crowdfunding campaign so as a part owner (LOL) I welcome you with open arms. You also put art just 3 blocks from Oakland School for the Arts, and the students will enjoy and appreciate it very much. Not to mention everyone who comes out for First Fridays. And BART commuters. And even OO. And so many more. I think we should complain to WOBO (Walk Oakland Bike Oakland) and get them to do some attitude-adjusting to their biking constituents. Buttheads. I like that word….it’s as inane and immature as their behavior!

  3. Anastasia February 24, 2012 at 7:41 am #

    I finally know what it’s called! I love what you do. It always makes me smile. It creates something fun out of ordinary things. Keep doint it. Btw, I have lots of yarn if you ever need it. Feel free to email me.

  4. Chase l Oh The Cuteness! February 29, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    So awesome! I can’t believe someone bothered you about it, they must have been having a very bad day, or they were just total jerks. Every yarn bombing I’ve ever seen has made people happy, so forget those people!

  5. L Allison April 3, 2012 at 9:48 am #

    Bravo yarnbomber. Good work standing your ground. Having spent time all over the country its my personal observation that Berkeley… and I guess that can spill over to Oakland is home to some of the rudest, most entitled and demanding folks on earth. I still work in Berkeley and have to grit my teeth often to weather the streets. Just read an essay by Michael Chabon on Berkeley who summed it up wonderfully. Impossible, crazy and creative. Thanks for holding up the creative side of the equation. PS. The book is an anthology called My California, Journeys by Great Writers.

  6. dianne faw April 5, 2012 at 9:57 pm #

    Yay for your bravery in the face of mean, rude people. Hooray for soft homespun yarn knit in beautiful patterns in pretty colors. Cheers to positive, appreciative passerby. I so appreciate what you do!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Link Love: Another Day in Paradise Edition « chasing mailboxes d.c. - February 24, 2012

    […] Racks were Made for Yarnbombing. Yarnbombing fascinates me, and this story from Streetcolor’s Blog of a recent yarnbombing of some bike racks outside of a coffee shop and the reactions it provoked […]

  2. Crafter by Night » Achoo! - March 23, 2012

    […] Streetcolor’s blog (our local yarnbomber).  She was yarnbombing a bike rack outside a cafe when she got berated. I am astonished that someone would get pissy about someone trying to make […]

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