Tag Archives: art

Yarnbombing; Felting a House in Mendocino

2 Sep

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When I planned the installation”Mendocino Crayon Box ” I wanted the final piece and the finale to be a felted house. I wasn’t sure exactly how to do this. I wanted to felt the jam shop at the bottom of Main St. I went over and got permission from the owner and she also gave me a jar of strawberry rhubarb jam.

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Many months went by before I was ready to put up the pieces so I went back to the jam shop and asked for permission again. The owner only asked that we use push pins.

A few days later wen went over and began to put up the large felt panels . They didn’t look right at all ! Each individual panel as fine but they didn’t go together at all. Covering an entire wall is different than covering pillers. I went up and though a lot about buildings and murals. I tried to think of the entire wall as a canvas. I made several more pieces and was excited about how they looked together.

 

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The day we decided to install the wall I was excited and also felt a premonition that something strange was going to happen. Little did I know how strange.

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We began to put up the pieces. My assistant Kelly began hemming the pieces and putting them under tension so that they would look flat. I hadn’t known how to put them up exactly so I was learning from her carpentry skills. Just then a woman showed up with a phone. Someone had reported us to the property manage of the building who insisted that we take the installation down immediately. I reassured her that we had permission but apparently we had permission from the owner of the business not the property owner and the building owner. She decided to come over and take photos so she could send them to the owner. We kept installing furiosly. When she arrived she was pretty disturbed .We tried to explain the townwide installation and showed her some other pieces. She departed.

We finished installing and were overcome with how cool the house looked covered with felt.

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4 days later we had to take it all down. I have had to do this before with my street art but not with something I had permission for . {I thought } I guess you don’t just need permission you need permission permission. With much art that goes on a street it can only be experienced as a picture.

I’m glad that we put this up and grateful to have had the opportunity even for a short while. When I looked at the finished house it was so strong and full of purpose. I had never seen anything quite like it before and I was delighted to have persevered .

Brand new ideas can be explosive. Now I can sit and steady the idea. And dream of felted cities.

 

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Yarnbombing; The Mendocino Crayon Box – What is its Purpose ?

11 Jun

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The Edge Of The World -2 12 foot handfelted pillars.

One of the things I liked when I started yarnbombing was the immediate feedback. When you stand out on the street installing your art people stop to discuss it . You get a very wide range of comments , almost always positive. Some people say ” Oh how cute ! ‘ ,which I take as positive. Some people are deeply interested in art and look and think for a while. Children are very supportive and often comment that they also really make a lot of art.

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The Mendocino Bookstore Pillars 9 ft tall.

For this installation’ The Mendocino Crayon Box ” I am putting up 52 pieces of felt on 20 businesses. People are wondered if I am having a felting festival and I guess I sort of am. The main question I am asked is ” What is this ? What is it’s purpose ? “

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The Mendocino Hotel -7 Pillars 8ft tall.

What I have been saying is ” This is a site specific installation. What that means is – I came up to Mendocino and looked for how I could make a piece of art involving the town itself as part of the art. I decided to make sheets of handmade felt and dye each of them a solid color and put them up on the pillars of Main St so that the street looked like a box of crayons. I wanted to give that exciting feeling of opening a box of crayons and how it makes you want to make art. “

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Dicks Bar 2 Pillars 7ft.

Mendocino Crayon Box ; Yarnbombing The Town of Mendocino, Ca.

7 Jun

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Today we started putting up the 52 felt pieces that are the yarnbombing named ” The Mendocino Crayon Box “

I’ve been working on this for a year, getting permission from 20 businesses, working with the Mendocino Art Center to plan the classes, fund raising and opening, making the handmade felt, hand dying the colors, measuring the pillars and buildings, knitting and crocheting, working with The Mendocino Yarn Shop, thinking about the idea.

I followed the idea like a dream. Occasionally I would feel like I was awakening and I would think ” This is such a crazy idea ! “

So this is the idea – to cover all the pillars of the buildings with panels of felt , each dyed a different brilliant color so that the whole street looks like a box of opened crayons. The intention is to evoke our beginnings with artmaking which starts with our crayons.

We will be installing all week. The opening for the installation is Friday June 13 from 4 to 7 starting at The Mendocino Art Center. The show will be up until Aug 13.

 

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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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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.

Yarnbombing And A Little Fun, Yarnbombing The Mendocino Art Center

31 Aug

IMG_0883I thought it would be fun to yarnbomb a 25 ft tree at The Mendocino Art Center. I thought maybe I should apply for a residency there so I could yarnbomb the whole art center but the residencies are for 9 months. I wrote the art center and inquired if they would like to be yarnbombed and after a long time and many e-mails to many different nice employees and a couple of meetings they agreed.

There are a lot of kinds of fun for me, I like to read, eat salted chocolate, knit , make felt, make botanical drawings in a sketchbook, go to Greece and eat . I always have always enjoyed a little fear in my fun and I think that has been why yarnbombing was particularly fun. I had sort of lost the fear in putting knitting on bike racks and I wanted to yarnbomb trees.  But I didn’t want to knit for a year to cover one tree . Then have someone steal it. So I decided to make handmade felt panels and put them up on trees.

When I went up to measure things at The Mendocino Art Center I saw this tree and was very attracted to it. I wanted to make something extremely big, spectacular and new so I decided to make a 25 ft yarnbomb. I went home and felted 3 8x 5 ft panels.

IMG_1145This was a lot of fun – there is nothing like a clear defined art project that needs to be made in a short sustained amount of time . I had 9 days to make the felt bombs for the tree , the Mendocino Art Gallery , a sign and the Mendocino Theater. I felted very fast. After 9 days I drove up from Berkeley to Mendocino. It was 108 degrees. I poured liters of water all over myself.

I got to The Art Center. and borrowed a broken 25 ft ladder. My goal was to not fall off. After much contemplation I decided to tie the ladder to the tree before I climbed it. I had cam straps in my car from my white water kayaking days and I used those. I pinned 2 panels to the tree and then I got scared to climb any higher. The tree did not look thrilling or right with out all 3 panels so I repinned  the first 2 panels sewed them and climbed up to the very top of the ladder, you know – the part where it says ” Do Not Stand Here !!” I realized I could wrap my arm all the way around the tree and sew the  3rd panel with one hand. I felt very close to that tree.

When I was finished the tree really did look right and very excellent. People stopped and said ” Fantastic ! ” I felt like I had done something that hadn’t been made before.

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