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Yarnbombing And Beaded Fences

21 Sep

Why have male artists  often been more successful than female artists ?  I think one reason is that men can be more comfortable using many people’s energy for their ideas . Woman can fall into caretaking everyone in the group . This drains a woman’s energy  instead of building it . Men can sometimes drain the group for themselves . This makes for big projects and miserable groups. I know that it is possible for a group to build a strong , exciting energy that inspires everyone and doesn’t exploit anyone . I’m thinking about how to do this for my large streetart installations .

When I started yarnbombing I really didn’t want to have a crew . I wanted to make art that was about my own fun – not about how supportive could I be to everyone else .   I wanted to be known as Streetcolor ,  I wanted to get some anonymous fame . Later I joined with The Russian and I found working with a partner made me more daring  and got me to yarnbomb every week.  And  it was more fun to yarnbomb with someone .   If I could resist thinking I had to take care of her .

After I had fully satisfied my needs for attention I started to have new needs. I needed to make really big installations that I could do with  a museum and I persuaded The Oakland Museum Of California through The Oakland Standard to let me yarnbomb their building. This installation is taking 6 knitters for the inside and over 18 for the outside . I’m really enjoying this bigger energy-everyone having fun as one – everyone supported by art.

Yarnbombing has taught me that the  whole world is an art gallery . I have been looking at chain link fences for years wanting to bead them . I started beading these fences a few weeks ago near my home . I like the contrast of the coarse barren metal with the shining delicate beads ,you have to come close to the fence to see all the beauty of beads . Now I want to cover the whole world with beads.

Yarnbombing Oakland -Inside and Out

2 Sep

So I have a commission to yarnbomb The Oakland Museum of California in mid Oct . I will be doing this through The Oakland Standard . More about them here . I will be yarnbombing the 4 bannisters in the front of the building out on the street , the 3 bannisters going down into the building ,  bannisters going down into the garden , 2 benches and 2 chairs that are part of  the architectural Jensen installation. And maybe a tree.  All handspun yarn .

The reason that this installation is so extreme is this .  I came up with it and I wanted it to be really big – something that would be big enough that it wouldn’t make me think about knitting and yarnbombing in a whole new way . Too big to be just ‘cute ‘

So now I go around begging my friends to help me knit .  I now have  Brenda Loreman , The Russian , Hargus Rose , The Fibrarian , and Anna Wong all knitting . And I spin all the time . And watch ” Star Trek Next Generation .”

It’s interesting to me how I get really excited and then really doubtful ,alternating . We tend to swerve away from what we really want .

This yarnbombing installation will go up in mid Oct 2011 and will be up for a month . I am so impressed with The Oakland Museum of California -this could be a first -yarnbombing the building of a museum inside and out .

International Yarnbombing Show On The Streets of Oakland , Ca.

At the same time this installation is up I want to put up a yarnbombing street art show using the streets of Oakland as a gallery . I am asking for yarnbombs from all over the world , signed by their artists with names and countries and I will sew them up on street poles , bike racks , parking meters , lamp posts and fences . I need tags that are 7.5 inches around { stretches measurement so they don’t slide down } and 4 to 8 ft long . I want people to get to see the amazing things you can do with knitting and crocheting f , so I’m hoping for ruffles , flowers , fairisle , cables , buttons , bobbles , protrusions  and lots of color .

I need yarnbombs to start coming around Oct 10 so I can start installing . I will take pictures and post them and documant the whole deal

Turning a city into a gallery of knitted street art at the same time a museum has an installation- I like what this says about art , knitting , street art , out new global internet life , freedom and doing what you want .

You may reach me at http://www.streetcolorart.gmail.com  and I will give you a mailing address. { Don’t want to tell everyone who I truly am ! }

i just got a message on Facebook from Dagmar Reichardt that she will help me reach knitters in Germany and Japan. Oh my.

Yarnbombing And Sugar

29 Aug

I often dream I am at a bakery and I am having every different chocolate cake , scone , cream cake , strawberry short cake , custard pie , chocolate truffle and lemon cream pie that they have in their glass case . On Sunday I met The Russian at Sweet Adelaine ‘ s  Bakery in Berkeley and that bakery is like my dream. The counter top and glass case is crammed with cookies , scones ,  fruit buckle cake , blondies , chocolate pave ,  everything I dream about . Unbelievably -I had a chicken curry sandwich , a piece of quiche and just one chocolate chip cookie . I knew I had hours and hours of yarnbombing to do and I didn’t want to get delirious.

I really liked that bakery and there was a good 3 loop bike rack outside . I considered ditching my plan to yarnbomb The Lakeshore library and  spend the day eating cookies and yarnbombing Sweet Adelaine’ s  instead but The Russian sweetly reminded me that I care  deeply about yarnbombing all the libraries of Oakland . So I went my way .

People often ask me about my assistant The Russian . Well she is going off to art school in San Francisco today and I am very proud .  And jealous.

So I drove over to Lakeshore which is very pretty and confusing to drive around . I drove around and around and finally parked my car . I yarnbombed The Lakeshore Library – I’ll tell you about that later – and then I went over to the big Gazebo by Lake Merritt and contemplated 3 lovely little bike racks .  ” They aren’t really a library ” I rationalized  ” But they are very near one and they would look exceptionally nice yarnbombed . ” So I yarnbombed them .

5 bike racks is a lot of sewing so I tried hard to stay relaxed .I’m always nervous at first , sewing and watching police cars drive by and wondering how the police are feeling today in Oakland . Eventually the sun and the shining like soothed me and I began to enjoy the beautiful and totally absurd act of yarnbombing.

The colors are very sugary on this installation . This made it very appealing to small children . A very little girl came and swung on a loop while I sewed . She came very close to me and fingered my pink sewing yarn . Then she wrapped my strip of knitting around her hand in a businesslike sort of way and tried to walk off with it . Sadly , I had to take it away . Later an older woman with a plastic badge around her neck came to watch me and she couldn’t stop giggling at what I was doing . She said she was from Hong Kong and she told me many things in Chinese . She wanted to help me so she held my knitting as I sewed. She held it very tight and crooked so it was only slightly helpful .

More people came by marching for peace . They have been marching for many years and may never get done . They knew all about my yarnbombing on College Ave . A woman and her photographer showed up next and said ” Can we photograph out shoes on your yarnbomb ?”

‘Ok ” I said in confusion . The woman sat down on a bike loop and promptly started to fall off as the knitting spun around . I devotedly hoped if she fell off that she wouldn’t sue me .

I sewed and sewed and worked on a little meditation exercise . Doing . Not doing . Feeling the Not Doing in my body .

At this point I realized that I had no idea where I had parked my car.

When this piece was all done it really looked like something . I couldn’t stop taking pictures . Sometimes yarnbombing looks like another world coming through this one . 2 woman stopped big smiles .” ‘This is your best one ever ” they said .

“I’ll quote you ” I said.

Then I went off to try and find my car .

Yarnbombing and Winston Churchill : The Temescal Library , Oakland , Ca.

13 Aug

When I’m not thinking about The Civil War I sometimes think about Winston Churchill. I like his quote “Never , never , never , never give in ” And to the French he declared ; ” Whatever you may do , we shall fight on forever and ever and ever. “

This may seem an extreme motto for a yarnbomber but it’s more about going on and making art every day under all circumstances. I know Churchill was probably racist and anti Semitic but he was so wonderfully undefeatable. He invented the tank and he was a tank .

I love this quote too” Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous states have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule , we shall not flag or fail . We shall go on to the end . We shall fight in France , we shall fight on the seas and oceans , we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air , we shall defend our island , whatever the cost may be , we shall fight on the beaches , we shall fight on the landing grounds , we shall fight on the fields and in the streets , we shall fight in the hills ; we shall never surrender . “

Ok I hope you’re feeling strengthened

I was really worn out on Wednesday and I accidently slept until 12 . I wanted to yarnbomb the Temescal library in Oakland as part of my Oakland Library series so I shoved my clothes on , ate some dark chocolate with cherries and stomped off to the Temescal Library .

The library is actually pretty fine , it’s a graceful old brick building on Broadway and 52 . There’s a bus stop right in front of it with a bench and a pretty little lawn . I stood in front of the Library and looked for things to yarnbomb . The railings were shapely and alluring but I was not in the mood to do any thing nerve racking or questionable . I wanted to make a gift to the library not vandalize it . I decided to yarnbomb the 3 loop bike rack on the left . It took a long time to sew it up by myself but it was an enjoyable self contained task.

When I was done the manager of the library came out and was wildly enthusiastic . That’s always nice . And the thing was – the knitting did change the whole street . It looked like their was art present . It made the street and the library look interesting , colorful , disconcerting and new.

Yarnbombing works !

I have a friend Maria Mortati who has a mobile museum . I want a mobile museum . She has a blog here with a bit about yarnbombing.

Yarnbombing And Crocheting : Rockridge Library , Oakland

8 Aug

I taught my mother how to crochet when I was 9 or 10. I think small children should be taught how to sew , knit , crochet , bake bread , make shoes , play the piano and speak French and then they can go home and teach their parents . This will make the world a better place . This is my plan .

So any way I taught my mother to crochet and she made a white , orange and black acrylic afghan which we treasured and took to hockey games for years . I must have taught myself to crochet from a book . My crocheting career has had many highlights. I took a college course in crochet , I crocheted a lumpy pink bathing cap that looked sort of like a brain . I also crocheted my way through 2 encyclopedias of crochet patterns a few years ago , I really enjoyed that a lot . For yarnbombing crocheting is supreme for adding large , luxurious,Victorian looking flowers .

The vigerous right hand movement of crocheting makes me feel very busy and productive I . I notice that sewing , beading , knitting , drop spinning , wheel spinning , crocheting each have their own movement and each movement calms me in a different way like a special tuning of my body . Drop spinning clears my mind and lets thoughts form easily. Sewing beads is best for despair. Crocheting is beat for building enthusiasm.

I imagine people who play lots of instruments or like to do different kinds of exercise have these fine points too.

I sewed this yarnbomb up last Wednesday outside the Rockridge Library in Oakland . It’s the third in my Oakland library series. As I was sewing a young man in sunglasses sat down near me and started smoking a cigarette. He stared at me and then suddenly focused on what I was doing and said ” That’s vandalism you know . I should call the police . “

I stiffened for a second and then realized he was joking . ” The Oakland police don’t care . ” I said ” We had 7 police watch us put up a yarnbomb once ‘

“I know ” he said . ” I paint murals now but I used to tag . I loved it , but you can get sent to jail for it ! Jail for art , can you imagine ? ‘

I imagined and was very glad that I have never been .

A small article in the Piedmont Patch about the yarnbomb at their library.  here.

Some more crocheted flowers from my yarnbombing past.

Yarnbombing and How Art Sustains Us : The Piedmont Library Yarnbombing

4 Aug

” Oh streetcolor ‘ you might say ” What happened to your grand scheme to yarnbomb all the Oakland Libraries ? You make these big plans , where’s the yarnbombing ? ” Well my life went into an avalanche and I’ve been crawling around and occasionally spinning a little on my drop spindle . For 2 weeks . Then yesterday I was still  tired out but I thought I really wanted to yarnbomb . So I drove over to the Piedmont library in Oakland and put up this little bike rack. And after I had yarnbombed I felt so much better – tired but I felt energy in my body -I felt fed.

I knew that making art is a big energy source in my life but this was  experiencing art as food. Sometimes when I’m endlessly eating chocolate and peanut butter I think ” Maybe you should look at an art book ! ”  I do and I calm down and feel full . Looking at art , knitting , spinning , drawing , beading , looking at my art books – I need hours of this every day to stay happy and content . Are you hungry for something ?

So this little bike rack came from a Toulouse  Lautrec print I liked . It was of a French woman in a ruffled orange shirt and a ruffled blue skirt . I wanted the ruffles to flow out of the knitting .

I seem fixed on bike racks  . I love seeing the knitting on the curve .  A woman was unlocking her bike as I sewed up this piece and I think she was sorely puzzled by my activity .

I look for activities that get me more into the moment . People have told me to be in the moment and I thought it meant- get into the moment and endure being really bored. But now getting into the moment feels like ‘”relax and enjoy how great life is  ” . I can feel energy flowing . When I was sewing up this yarnbomb I felt the sun on my body and saw shafts of light on the street. It was warm and cool and someone was playing the banjo. I like pulling a needle through knitting . The wool felt cushy over the cold hard metal. Very delicious .

This Piedmont Library yarnbomb is the 2nd Oakland Library yarnbomb in my series . The library was open  and all sorts of people were ambling in and out enjoying their books. Libraries are the best part of a community I think. I love them . Thank you libraries.

My link today is to a little article in Diablo Magazine about The Orinda Library Bike Rack  .  Here.

This is a funny story -when we put up this bike rack I thought that no one would ever see it because it is so secluded . It’s in a in a sculpture garden off the street . And I thought ” It’s ok if no one sees it , I love this library and I want to honor it .

And this yarnbomb ended up In Diablo Magazine and in Time magazine .

You never know what”s going to happen.

Yarnbombing and De Yarnbombing – Pt. Reyes Station

15 Jul

You want to run and jump into yarnbombing . It’s really best if you don’t think much about what is going to happen to your yarnbombs , thinking will only slow you down. Make thrilling work – get it up . Later on different things will happen , some yarnbombs get taken right down by authorities , some are swiped by teenagers or even gangs , some will become famous and some yarnbombs will stay up  forever or until you take them down . I did not expect this at all and now I have many yarnbombs which have been up for months and months.

I put yarnbombs up to enjoy looking at them and at some point I don’t like looking at them  if they are getting ripped and smudged . I didn’t want to be sad when I took them down so I have started knitting replacement yarnbombs . A favorite piece of ours is a bannister we put up in Pt. Reyes Station , a tranquil little town along the coast  . We have gotten lots of blogs and remarks on this particular bit of knitting and we wanted to reward this loving energy . So we knit 2 new bright glass colored yarnbombs to replace the old bannister. We  had a calm and beautiful drive out and went excitedly over to see our old yarnbombs .

As you can see – the old piece looked pretty good still although all our tags had been cut off and it was a little shrucken from being outside and rained on for 8 months . Still – not bad ! We cut it down any way and sewed on our 2 new pieces . The Russian knit these pieces and I put on the ruffles. As we sewed the knitting on the bannister lots of people stopped to ask us what this was . I thought everyone knew what yarnbombing was and were already sick of it . So I was glad that yarnbombing was still news to so many.

I get a lot of energy from talking to people when I am yarnbombing , especially if they keep saying ” Beautiful Beautiful ! ” I realized a long time ago that life was simple -if you have too little energy you fell bad and depressed and if you have lots of energy you feel great . How do you get lots of energy with out becoming a wee drug fiend ? I always make art for energy but you can also eat chocolate , run around outside looking at trees , go look at art , visit babies , see your favorite people ,  take 3 breaths . Or go out and talk to everyone as you yarnbomb.

I know people who talk about their passions from the time they get up in the morning until they go to bed at night . This is an interesting way to get energy and I would like to try it .

When we were done sewing these yarnbombs the kind man who owns the Pt. Reyes Bookstore bought us 2 short bread cookies , one chocolate cherry cookie and 2 cups of peppermint tea as a reward for our street art . This is an excellent way to thank us if you ever want to.

So I took those old yarnbombs home and washed them. They are a little felted and full of holes but still quite beautiful.

This is a great Oakland blog with A zany yarnbomb of mine at the Oakland library here .

Yarnbombing With A Theme -The Oakland Libraries

11 Jul

I never thought I could feel guilty about not  yarnbombing . I didn ‘ t have the thrilling idea , that idea that makes you want to run out the door in your pajamas with out breakfast because you ‘re so excited and nervous that you have to yarnbomb right away . I had been in quite a lull .

It started when my internet connection went down 3 weeks ago and I intensely realized how addicted I was to checking Facebook . This was a slap and I decided to stay off the web ,  I felt that it was making me unhappy.

Yarnbombing had introduced me to the pleasures of the Internet , the slow heady , steady drip of attention , blog hits , Facebook friends and media attention . I got up every morning and went straight to my blog . Is this normal ? Does this make everyone happy ? I decided to look 4 times a day -no more . And then gradually I realized that I wasn’t yarnbombing anymore .

Oh I was still knitting and making art , you have to make art at all times , under all circumstances . But I wasn’t yarnbombing , putting it up . I thought of many ideas , redo my neighborhood , go yarnbomb  the Art Museums in San Francisco , drive down the coast of California and bother the people in Venice and Los Angeles . But I’d done most of that already . I continued knitting and in my spare time invented a new form of streetart . No yarnbombing .

Last night I was thinking about The Oakland Libraries -they just barely skirted a huge catastrophe this month . The mayor of Oakland had proposed almost completely shutting down the whole library system citywide to save money. Many ingenious protests erupted including a zombie walk for Libraries . Closing down all the Libraries ! Doesn’t that take your breath away ? Well this didn’t happen thank goodness but it made me pretty frantic . As  I was reading about the Oakland libraries my thrilling idea suddenly came . I wanted to celebrate Oakland ‘s libraries by yarnbombing them ,  hopefully all of them . I had the feeling -I wanted to yarnbomb in my pajamas .

This morning I printed out many maps and stuffed my purple back pack with plastic bags of knitting . I was very excited , probably too excited it turned out . I drove over the The Golden Gate Branch of the Oakland Library system , a place I had never been . I parked and noticed that I had spilled my water bottle all over my  car seat . I got out and looked all around . I wanted to yarnbomb the railing . I sewed a pretty wide strip on the railing folded up for a padded look using mattress stitch so it looks seamless . I was very nervous , there was a very clear sign saying ” No Graffiti ! ” It was fun to have that adrenaline . I thought the knitting looked fresh and clean on the beautiful old rusting railing . I thought it was the right combination of modesty and obviousness . It went so well that I decided to go off and yarnbomb again

Except I took the wrong freeway entrance and ended up heading off towards San Francisco . And in trying to get off the freeway I ended up driving  illegally onto the Bus ramp and onto the Bridge . There were lots of signs saying  ” Illegal !  Big , Big Fine ! “

So I drove to San Francisco and back and just went home . It’s so tricky to get just the right combination of excitement and sanity …..

This is a good article about yarnbombing  here .

Yarnbombing – The Word

20 Jun

The term ” yarnbomb ” comes out of graffiti , ” bomb ” means putting up a bunch of tags in one area . When people ask me what I’m doing  I say “Yarnbombing ” And often they quickly nod , they’ve heard of it . But I don’t think what I’m doing is graffiti really. It’s street art  made with knitting.

The Russian and I put up this rack on Sunday. We met at 2.oo and it was extremely bright and hot . I had forgotten we are so close to the Equinox ,  it was like sitting in a bowl of bright light for 4 hours. Some of you might recognize this rack-we put up a piece on this same rack 3 months ago . Someone had taken down part of the old piece and just left  one little strip . This is a strange story .  I had noticed that lots of my yarnbombs were coming down all at once -5 or 6 at a time , entire installations.  I thought the city was spring cleaning . This was nerve racking . This bike rack got only partly taken down which  suggested it wasn’t the city . I count on Berkeley’s tolerance to do my bigger stuff , so it would be bad if the city decided that there would be no more yarnbombing .

After some time I got an e-mail from an anonymous knitter saying that they were taking down my pieces and sewing a blanket with them as a commentary on public and private art . They showed me the blanket with my yarnbombs all cut up and sewn together .  I was so pained to recognize  so much of my work all cut up. I wrote back and asked them not to do this-I wanted to make something myself with the old pieces.  So all that made me want to put up another new piece on this same rack . Plus I just really like this rack .

So back to the word yarnbombing . This word is getting used for lots of different things -  for big legal public commissions , for gallery artists who crochet and knit , for knitting put up at big craft stores  , for knitting done for big corporations , for knitting in peoples’ gardens -I even saw someone describe a knitted dolls’ dress as a yarnbomb . All of this is good  and interesting and exciting but  I don’t think it’s exactly yarnbombing.

To me the word yarnbombing means knitting that is put up subversively-you don’t have permission , it’s done for free as a gift , it’s out on the street for everyone to see , it’s art without walls , art that’s not for sale , art just for pleasure .

   A funny Muni link about the Bart Seat here.

Another small spinartiste  yarnbombing  interview  here

Yarnbombing Bart and Power

14 Jun

  I’ve gotten interested in how art gives us this power in  the outside world . When I first put up yarnbombing on a street I was startled by how   the street changed , the domestic  colorful knitting made the street look new .  A lot of people stopped and fiddled around with the knitting for a moment , they would get in a more cheerful state .  I thought you had to go through layers of permission to change a city-with yarnbombing you don’t.  Yarnbombing didn’t hurt anything so I continued on with my strange new power.

I wanted to knit a seat cover for the sorry seats on Bart . We are famous here in the Bay Area for our disheveled  Bart Seats .  Man , I would have loved to knit the whole train – it would have been so graffitish -  but I’m going to need some help for that .  I began riding around on the train to get my measurements.

It’s interesting to watch people on Bart , everyone is trying to stay private with their books and newspapers , ipods and knitting , looking out the window, dozing .  Everyone is trying to make things a little more pleasant for themselves .We know we have this power to make our own lives a little happier. I wanted to suggest that we have a power to make the whole train better.

Have you seen the pictures of people bringing their own chairs on Bart ? Someone had even brought a padded armchair. I thought it would be fresh if we all made art covers and put them on the seats instead of waiting patiently and numbly for Bart to meditate itself to a solution . I would love to make one hundred covers.

So I have been riding around on Bart sitting on my nice clean knitted cover .   I fold it up and carry it off  when I get home . You can make any situation better with a little art.

Some links  Eastbay Express  here

Berkeley Patch here

Yarnbomber site here

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