Yarnbombing And Getting Rich ; Yarnbombing Lark Books – Again

6 Apr

Yarnbombing is a poor way to make money . Although when I have been out yarnbombing on the street sometims someone will stop and hand me a five. I spent so much time last year yarnbombing that I had to give myself a loan. But the great thing about money and yarnbombing is this-  yarnbombing showed me that if you are willing  to not get paid , to not ask permission and to be calm about policemen -

you can do anything you want..

And almost everything you want.

I love Lark Books . They make the most beautiful books about Art Craft on the planet . I visited them last year and yarnbombed the outside of their building and had a delightful visit with 3 of their editors and Beth Sweet gave me 3 books which was the best reward for yarnbombing I could imagine .

However the city of Asheville took the yarnbomb just a few days later.

This left me with an interesting quandary . Should I put up a new yarnbomb in front of the Lark building this year when I knew it would be taken right down again ? I looked at my beautiful handspun hand knit yarnbomb and I couldn’t do it.

I let my problem sit calmly in my mind. Last year Amanda Carestio had rashly given me her business card and I had carefully saved it. So this is what I thought – if i didn’t feel good about yarnbombing the outside of the building – maybe Lark would let me yarnbomb the inside of the building. I have found that people will let me yarnbomb anything if I ask , it’s quite amazing. So I e-mailed Amanda and she said  ” Yes !”

Amanda kindly sent me some pictures and I dug around in my embarrassingly large bag of yarnbombs . I packed up a huge bag of knitting options and flew off to Asheville. Amanda ushered me into the building and I saw this thrilling bright red staircase and knew that this was the perfect item to yarnbomb so I began sewing it up.

The director of lark – John Serena was interested in this activity – fortunately – and came out and talked to me . Book publishing is very interesting and some day I’d really like to write a book . After a nice chat John looked at me and said  “Last year we gave you a book didn’t we ? “

” Yes – 3 books ! ‘ I said fondly .

” Well I tell you what – I’m going to take you down to our store room an give you a box and let you take as many books as you like and we will ship them to you “

Oh my God.

We went downstairs through a big maze of furniture and boxed books . John showed me a whole room of shelved books , gave me my box and said ” Take whatever you want  .”

I looked at all those hundreds of books and said ‘” This is like a dream “

I began looking through books . I was happy to see I owned many many of them already . There were books on glass bead making , knitting , crocheting, wire jewelry , artist journals , pottery , glass blowing , photography , cupcakes – everything you could possibly want . It was 5.oo . Every one was leaving the building . I could hear things being locked up . I became gripped by the idea that I would be locked in all night with all these books .

I picked out books faster . Was I being greedy ? Yes !

I hesitated but pressed on. I wrote my address on the box which was full and picked out a crocheting book and a glass beadmaking book to take with me . Just in case they changed their minds . And I left

I felt supremely rich .

Yarnbombing And The Wandering Heart

25 Mar

All yarnbombers hate having their tags taken down . It makes me feel sad , mad , insulted , vaguely persecuted and a little silly .  But you have to take that risk to yarnbomb  , no romance with out rejection apparently.

And it’s such a wonderful thrill , a miracle when everyone silently agrees to leave a yarnbomb up on a fence for weeks and weeks  ,  so many  people being kind .

When I started this felt heart street art series I knew that it would be tricky – the hearts are really fun to own and put up on your own wall  . I knew I would be putting out a big marshmallow and asking everyone to to not eat it .

I put this big blue heart up at a construction site on a temporary Tri City fence . After a month I drove by one day and not only heart was gone but the whole fence was gone . Poof ! I posted  a picture of the felt heart and the fence on my Facebook page and told all my friends that my heart was gone .

The next morning I got up , put on my brown handspun sweater , drank a quart of water and went to my computer to look at Facebook . They tell us that Facebook is keeping us from our flesh and blood friends but my physical friends don’t want to talk about yarnbombing first thing in the morning . So I opened up my Facebook page and there was the most amazing thing .

My heart was sitting on that same Tri City fence but now it was up in Sonoma !  The fence had come down in Berkeley with the heart still attached and had gone back up again at a different site  with the heart still on it.

This made up for all the moping and grinding of teeth over my many disappeared hearts . The first traveling yarnbomb !

This is what it said under the picture . ” You have friends in many mysterious places . The felt heart stayed out all night wet and frozen and now it is  a perfect hardness. ‘

I was so happy to find my hard blue heart .

Sf Weekly post with yarnbombing here

Yarnbombing And The Safeway Fence

27 Feb

This construction fence started my whole felt bombing project . This is not a bad fence , it’s just a very big domineering fence . I looked at this fence and wanted to yarnbomb  it.

I’d been thinking a lot about chain link fences and how they make us feel . This big fence went up suddenly and really changed the neighborhood visually. I felt kind of pushed aside by it and it made me think about – who decides what we have to look at ?

We look at so many things every day that advertisers are making us look at . Plus bill boards . Construction projects . Harsh metal fences on empty abandoned corners.

It makes me want to cover everything with knitting .

I’ve gotten a little soft in my yarnbombing after spending so much time doing The Oakland Museum commission. I was really jittery about yarnbombing this big , public privately owned corporate fence. This is good , it’s important to go towards what scares us.

I started yarnbombing by walking all the way around the fence looking for the right spot and for security guards. A well equipped guard walked slowly by . I decided he was guarding The Bank Of America. Wiring , wiring , I got a heart up in 5 different squares. And they didn’t look right at all ! .

I realized that the 5 hearts together were a new art piece and they needed composition .  Composing an installation is the same as composing a piece . I took them all down and started all over. Very nerve wracking.

And then I thought ” Oh what the heck , what”s the worst thing any one can do to me ? Yell ? “

That’s when the meter maid pulled up and started ticketing my car .

I decided that I should group all the heart tightly on 2 panels . I wanted the color and the pattern of the hearts to be startling and strong .As I wired them up the fence began to look like an art show. People began to stop and look and take pictures.  I knew then that I had gotten it right.

This was installation was only up for 2 days before someone – probably the fence owner – took it all down. I knew that it was extremely likely that this would happen and I wanted to do it anyway. For most street art it only lasts as a picture and I was very happy that I knuckled down and took the time to make an installation that would make a fine photo. All the rest of the hearts are still up and I get to see them as I drive all around.

    Berkeleyside had a contest to identify all 6 yarnbombed hearts installations. The prize was a box of chocolate. i really wanted to enter , I could have won for sure . The contest here.

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 .

Yarnbombing And Heart Felts – Part 2

14 Feb

We got in the car and drove to our first secret yarnbombing location . Still raining.

‘Do I have to get out of the car and stand over you with an umbrella ? ”  my sweetheart said resignedly .

‘Oh no ”  I said ‘”Just wait  , it’s very quick to wire a felt heart to a fence “

I got out and squished along the fence looking for the perfect spot  . Everything has a perfect place , vases of flowers , tables in resturants , a spot of red in a painting , a heart on a fence . You can fell it in your body when something balances.

I found the perfect spot on the fence and started wiring . I got the heart barely sewn on when a huge truck pulled right up to the gate and a man got out and glared at me  . I walked briskly over to our car and got in.

‘Can you drive away  now please? ” I whispered to my sweetie .

” No , he’s blocked our car ” he said

We all sat and looked at each other and then he opened the fence , drove through it  and let out his 2 big dogs .

‘Let’s go now and come back later ‘ I said and we quickly drove off.

We drove to our second fence and I got out and stood at the fence . A security guard came and stood at the other side of the fence. I felt like such a vandal ! I went across the street and found a different fence and put up this felt heart. My sweetie and I both agreed that the red heart was a little lost against the red fence but I think the artists in the building will like having  the art

So off we went to fence 3. I picked this fence because a dear friend works at this secret place and I hope he notices .

By now the sun had come out . I was starting to lose my grip . I can never tell if people are going to come and yell at me or think this is the best thing ever. I sewed up my heart. A bunch of kids wandered by. Oh no ! Kids always notice what I’m doing unlike the adults in cars and on phones.

” Person ! Person ! What are you doing ?

I needed a little rest. And lunch . Can’t people tell if I’m a boy or a girl ?  We went home . I needed to ready myself for Heart Fence Supreme…..here I am again here

Yarnbombing And Heart Felts , Berkeley Part 1

13 Feb

When I woke up this morning it was dark and raining. Oh no . I don’t have many rules for my yarnbombing being a lawless yarnbomber  but I have always followed one law. I don’t yarnbomb in the rain . But I had 8 felt hearts to put up by tomorrow – Valentine’s Day .

I lay in bed , my mind all wired up with questions. Where should I put the hearts? Would I be freezing cold ? Would security guards get me ? Would people swipe my hearts as fast as I could put them up ? Would my car start ? Why do I always think up these insane schemes ?’

This is just for fun ‘ I told myself . That didn’t work .

“This is just street art ‘ Still very anxious.

‘Put the hearts in easy favorite places ‘ That was kind of relieving .

My sweetie came in the bedroom and got in bed with his coffee.

‘ I’m worried about how much you have to do today and I want to offer my help .’ he said .

‘Will you drive me all over Berkeley while I yarnbomb ? ‘ I asked .

‘ I knew you were going to say that . ‘ he said .

I had already put up 3 hearts last Friday . These are the hearts in these pictures we are looking at . I wanted to do a trial run to see if the hearts would be left up or taken down . My plan was to put them all up on chain link fences. Most chain link fences are private property . In the past I had only persecuted city poles and bike racks with my yarnbombing – not private property . This series was a little pushier.

When I yarnbomb I want to be able to take the work down but I want it to be sufficiently annoying to take down that every thing won’t get swiped. Not that many people would want a strip of knitting but more people might want a heart. I had started by using fishing line but had switched to wire .I really liked how wire looked with the felt so that was a sign that it was the right way to go .

I packed up my wirecutters and pliers , my spool of 24 gauge wire , my tapestry needle , my camera and it’s little felt case and my heavy roll of felt hearts . Little did I know the dogs , security guards and meter maid that waited in my future . { To be continued }

A good picture of a heart on A blog here - What I Saw in Berkeley Today

Yarnbombing and Valentine’s Day – Being Encouraged

11 Feb

I was sewing this big felt heart onto my local fence when Tanner showed up . He seems to drop from the sky when ever I am doing  street art in our neighborhood.  I didn’t recognize him at first because his yellow hair is shorter and his teenage face is in the process of moving from prettiness to strength.

“I like what your doing here ” he said looking at my street heart . ” And I liked the snow flakes too. I took a lot of pictures of street art when I was traveling . I’ll show them to you later . ‘

And off he went .

The very first time I ever yarnbombed , a very little tiny knitted sock on a pole –  young Tanner came out in bare feet to tell me he like what I was doing. I love a teenager being out in the world encouraging artists to make street art . Right away as it’s in progress .  A little encouragement , it can be so little , can make the difference to so many brave , big  , ridiculous  , wavering art experiments .

I also appreciate the people who yell out their cars -

‘ Thank You  !” to me as I am sewing up .

And to the people on Facebook who tell me ” Get your hearts out there ! “

So this is a new series of street art called ‘Street Hearts ” and it is 15 big felt hearts that I am putting up all over Berkeley to celebrate Valentines Day. See if you can find them .  And go encourage somebody .

yourself too. You are so great . I like what you are doing.

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