As I was walking in downtown Colorado Springs today to meet Jeremy for lunch, I came upon this lovely piece of local art:
Yes, my friends, I had stumbled upon a yarn bomb. This recent addition to all our favorite methods of graffiti has a special place in my (Liz’s) heart, as I am a (very) amateur knitter myself. This recent phenomena, however, includes all those who play with yarn, calling all crocheters and knitters to “improve the urban landscape one stitch at a time.”
(Image borrowed from YarnBombing.com)
So how does it work? These yarn bombers pick a target to bomb, taking the measurements home with them and knitting the cover (though leaving room for it to be attached later). Then, like traditional graffiti artists, they bomb at night, stitching the cover around the target for people to find in the morning. Sometimes, the yarn sticks around for hours; other times, authorities or business owners will remove the yarn before anyone else can see it.
In Denver, a group called the Ladies Fancywork Society has created various yarn bombs, including shackling the famous Blue Bear sculpture that looks into the Denver Convention Center with a huge yarn ball and chain. (the ladies used over 15 miles of knitted yarn for the bear bombing!)
Magda Sayeg from Houston, Texas is said to have started the movement when she spontaneously knitted a blue and pink cozy for the door handle of her shop, and then found that she couldn’t stop. She recruited volunteers to help her cloak Houston in yarn, and somehow yarn bombing caught. Now it has become a full-on movement, even crossing oceans, as yarn bombing has been reported everywhere from Paris to Morocco and Iran. Who knew that this soft art would have such international appeal?
(Image borrowed from this Denver Post article)
When these “grandma graffiti” artists are asked what they love most about bombing, they say it’s the chance they get to make something cold and urban (like a bus, a light pole, a copper statue, or a fire hydrant) warm, to give it that maternal touch. It’s urban decorating at its finest. And truly, graffiti is no longer only a male art; the women are taking back the streets.
(Image borrowed from BlackStitch.wordpress.com)
…And I just love it! There’s nothing quite like running into a purple crocheted cozy on a metal light pol while you’re on your way to work? You can’t help but smile.
So take out your needles, ladies (and crafting gents) of Colorado Springs, and bomb away! You have at least two fans. 🙂
For more information on this city-warming trend, read this NY Times article.
Also, be on the lookout for more bombs, especially ’cause International Yarn Bombing day is coming up on June 11!