Tag Archives: feltmaking

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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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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