Friday, June 09, 2017

A Visual Art Movement: Yarn Bombing

In a series of monthly blog posts, I am going to explore the art of knitting and how its popularity is impacting our world of art.

The first visual art movement that I will explore is yarn bombing which is a three-dimensional street art that is described as the act of covering something unexpected in knitting. It is also known as guerilla art, or yarn storming (a less violent way of saying yarn bombing), urban knitting or kniffiti. 

Yarn bombing is considered the female version of the mostly male-dominated urban street graffiti. In its essence, yarn bombing is temporary and has a limited life span – it has intentional impermanence. There is typically a mixture of both knitting and crochet worked within the projects (crochet works up rather quickly).
David Demchuk (from Toronto) is quoted as saying: Yarn bombing confronts people with creativity that’s not heavily disciplined or aestheticized. It can look perfect and polished or hazardous and insane – that’s part of its charm. It breaks down a lot of barriers that people have about creativity. 
The start of yarn bombing has been attributed to a couple of origins – some articles point to the Netherlands in 2004 and some to knitters in Texas who wanted to use up their stash but many believe that Magda Sayeg is considered to be the founder of yarn bombing. Although there is no definitive start date or a clear indication of who began the movement – it is definitely a recent art form that has quickly spread worldwide. 

The ideas are numerous as to why this is done: Adding warmth and beauty to cold and sterile public spaces, making a peaceful political statement, showcasing creativity, provoking thought…etc. It can show up unexpectedly in the urban landscape on utilitarian objects such as lamp posts, benches, parking meters, poles or statues. 

As with urban street graffiti, many artists choose to remain anonymous. However, there are some well-known artists who are leading this movement that I'll dive into in my future blogs.

The following are a few examples of some amazing works of art.

Trees at the State Capitol in Austin, TX by Magda Sayeg/Knitta Please

Bridge of Cesenatico | Italy | Photo credit Sleppa

 Blanton Museum | UT campus | Dan Machold

Bicycle | The Netherlands| Photo credit Baykedevries

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