June 11 2011 is International Yarn Bombing Day. The event, announced by Canadian knitter Joann Matvichuk, has been circulating on facebook for some months and has recently received media attention from the New York Times, Seattle Times and others. We’d like to do our little part for the promotion of both yarnbombing itself and of the event.
What is yarnbombing
If you’re really lucky, you live somewhere beautiful with trees and pleasant colours and smells just outside your window. If you’re like probably 90% of people on this planet you likely live somewhere relatively grey and you hurry through that space every day, not stopping to notice anything, perhaps because there is nothing much to see. Yarnboming can help change that.
Knit interventions in public places – on bike racks, lamp-poles, parking meters and more – add colour and a human dimension to the city. Some people compare it to graffiti, while others consider it public art or an ephemeral intervention more like a flash mob. With the rise of attention paid to street art lately, knitting interventions are showing up in books dedicated to street art, as well as being dedicated whole books such as Mandy Moore and Leanne Prain of yarnbombing.com‘s “Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti“.
Some recent examples
Magda Sayeg, a 37-year-old Texan, takes credit for being the founder of the “original knit graffiti crew Knitta Please.” Since knitting a door handle in 2005 she has progressed towards yarnboming as a full time job. She works on commissions for brands, like Prius for whom she made a knitted car, as well as for city commissions and museums. Unfortunately, not of all of us have a Mini Cooper to knit…
Knit projects might be placed on public or private property, depending on how much you’re willing to risk. We’ve heard of some really ambitious public projects recently, like Streetcolor’s covering a large bike rack in front of a library in Berkeley, and we’re sorry to hear that the crews that are intended to “serve and protect” are not so open-minded about this activity – her project took 4 weeks to knit but just one day to put up and be wripped down by police.
To avoid close encounters with the law, you could organize or participate in an authorized yarn-art project, such as “A Knitted Wonderland”, an exhibit in front of the Blanton Art Museum (closed March 25 2011), organized by KnittaPlease.
Another more legal option is to knit small items or even make pom-poms that can be attached to (and easily removed from) private property.
As BettaKnit is located in Prato, Italy, which is in the lovely region of Tuscany near that very famous art city, Florence, we’re a little apprehensive about attempting to yarnbomb. We don’t have private spaces that neighbour on public property (there are no “front lawns” like in America), and rules here are very strict about graffiti (even if there is plenty of it). We have an idea for a less invasive way to cheer up the city with our signature pink yarn, but we’re not going to be ready for June 11th, sadly.
Yarnbombing day: The invitation is simple. Get out your needles and yarn, or your crochet hook. Pick a location, measure it, knit something for it, and wrap it up. Be creative and friendly – but (this is our addition) also be aware of the laws on litter or graffiti in your town, and try not to break them.