I knit these tags last year but was overcome with yarnbombing laziness. This year I was an artist in residence at The Mendocino Art center all year and I was consumed with drawing the historic buildings in Mendocino instead of being consumed with putting knitting and felting all over them as I did in the summer of 2014.
So I drew all year and the knitting stayed in a bag. Ok too be more honest , last year I wanted to yarnbomb my Isuzu trooper and drive it around but it turns out you can’t yarnbombing a totally square car at least I couldn’t so I got very downcast about yarnbombing. So anyway it finally stopped raining in Mendocino in July and I yarn bombed this building which is The Mendocino Market where I have spent all my time eating tuna sandwiches and chocolate chip cookies and I wanted to pay tribute to all that happiness.
I had forgotten how much people like yarnbombing and how encouraging they can be. And how much I like free art that isn’t judged by moneymaking process.
I was having a lot of trouble getting myself to put up my tie dyed felts on the trees of Berkeley. I kept wondering what would get me to start. Time was passing and it was getting closer to our rainy season when it would no longer be reasonable to hang felt outside.
So I tried scolding myself ” Don’t be a weenie ! ” I would say every morning. That never works.
So I thought about how I could support myself and make smaller goals. I decided to load all my sewing gear, cameras , step ladder and duffel of felt into the back of my ancient Isuzu Trooper so that I would have it all if I got the urge to vandalize. Than I told myself that I could just go and try out the felt on a tree, no sewing. Then I finally started putting them up.
I seem to be able to put up one tree a day. I sew them up at night. It’s very balmy at night here in Oct and I listen to the crickets .This is my second tie dyed tree on Solano and Colusa.
I have had The Crocker Museum on my mind. I have continued to be surprised by all the positive feedback and enthusiasm . I wanted to go back and do a really big knitted installation, cover every pole. I thought that might be seen as a friendly gesture or it might be seen as really annoying. The first pole was really made for the new Crocker Museum which is white,uplifting and exhilarating. I like the old museum for different reasons, its comforting, enclosing, luxurious and calming. I knit this darker and more conservative piece for the old Crocker Museum.
I wanted to put it up in the dark and the museum is open until 7 on Wed. The Russian hadn’t seen the wonderful collection so we looked at art and waited for darkness. We also had some divine lentil soup at the cafe. I was surprised to find a the Paul Jenkins show in the special exhibitions room, it’s very beautiful and relieving to be surrounded by the color.. At 7 we went out and sewed this piece onto a pole near the old museum. It’s not very obvious that it’s there.It’s a little secret gift.
I wanted to drive up to Sacramento and see the Wayne Thiebaud retrospective at The Crocker Museum. I had never been to The Crocker Museum and thought it was an old fusty space. Well the Crocker is brand new and totally spectacular, wonderful contemporary art collection with lots and lots of Thiebaud. I especially loved a print he did of a daffodil. He is such a master of painting and his subject matter is pure joy.
There was a perfect pole right directly in front of the entrance. I try to always be as bold as possible so I decided to yarnbomb that pole. However I was not so bold that I wanted to do it while the museum was open. The security guards work very hard at that museum. So my partner and I sat in the cafe eating shockingly good hamburgers with homemade french fries. At 5 in the dark I sewed up this piece. It’s hard to thread a needle in the dark. A stock photographer came by and started taking pictures , but just of the building , not of me. It was much calmer once we were both there plying our trade.
So what’s the story with putting up knitting in front of all these museums?
Well I love art museums and we like to yarn bomb places we approve of. But there is also this funny and fun conundrum. You go to a museum to make art but you never see street art in museums because by it’s nature it has to be on a street. So we put our street art very very near the museum so you can still see it at the museum.
The Russian And I rode Bart to the San Francisco to put up some knitting in Union Square. The Bart was full of people in brand new Giants hats and beautiful new black and orange Giants coats.Everyone had a pleased air of having been given a free holiday. We got off at Powell St and carefully examined The Cable Car Poles which are very big and yellow.We want to do an installation that follows the Cable Car route through the city. Mostly I just want to ride the cable cars around. But first we had some special orange and black knitted graffiti to celebrate fall, Halloween and most especially the Giants going to The World Series. I hadn’t finished one of the pieces so we went to Emperor Rullios Cafe and had a tea and a strawberry shortcake and knit. We sat outside of the cafe and talked about cafes. In Paris people sit in cafes and just sit there , no lap tops. We talked about The New Yorker article about procrastination. I liked that it said you needed to set small concrete goals. My goals for yarnbombing are very clear to me and I think that is why I am able to do it so extremely profusely. Here they are;
1.I want to make art all day and make alot of it and get to enjoy the delights of knitting all the time.
2. I want people to see what we are doing, hence doing installation street art.
3.I want to effect my environment , when we knit something colorful and find the right place on a street it is like putting a vase of roses on a table, it warms the room or in this case the street.
4. i want to be noticed and the art to be enjoyed. Noticed anonymously as Streetcolor and The Russian of course.
5. I want to get to go to many beautiful places, see this planet and connect to them with art.
And now onto yarn bombing:
The Russian knit this lovely black and white ruffled piece and had been saving it because of it s charm. The cable car pole was unexpectedly round and this piece was the only one we had that was big enough. So I pried it out of her reluctant hands and we sewed it on.
The other knitted piece is a simple stripe knit to bring some more orange and black to San Francisco as we celebrate The Giants.
I knit this piece for Jimmy Beans and afterwords realized the yellow ruffles were a tribute to their fried egg yolks.
It was very reassuring to go out yarn bombing today. I had been wringing my hands over the rain and what would happen to all our knitting. When we first began putting up knitting on poles in June we got a lot of encouragement but we also got some sharp remarks . someone wrote ” I hate how yarn bombing gets dirty and ragged and ratty when it rains and becomes such an eyesore”. Of course this being a negative remark it had burned itself into my mind so much more than the positive remarks. We drove around today to check on our older pieces on Claremont and in the Elmwood area and they were FINE. A little damp but more like they had been washed. We repaired them and sewed on new fabric tags.We haven’t been out in a while and it was so nice to have people stop and compliment our work. We all need praise for the things we really want to be praised for even if we think we shouldn’t need it. I tend to judge if the knitting is being enjoyed totally on the remarks we get on the blog and forget the pieces are out in the real world. I especially liked it when a woman stopped and told me her 4 year old daughter was obsessed with the poles.The Russian hopes that when little kids see knitted street art it will give them a big free picture of what you can create.