Thursday, April 7, 2011

Knitted Graffiti (Part 2)

Knitted Graffiti, or 'Yarn Bombing,' has a plethora of meanings for the different people who participate in it.  The practice can be traced back to Magda Sayeg, who, with her controversial knitting graffiti team 'Knitta, Please' worked to establish the art of knitted graffiti. Sayeg states that she started installing knitted graffiti "in response to the dehumanizing qualities of an urban environment. By inserting handmade art in a landscape of concrete and steel, she adds a human quality that otherwise rarely exists."  

Knitta, Please was responsible for 'Yarn Bombing' this bus in Mexico City.

That comforting nature of knitting- both in its creation and in the final fabric- are utilized by Magda Sayeg and the yarn bombers who have followed her as a way to change the environment of many urban areas. 

Knitted graffiti artists have popped up all over the world, and have influenced both the craft of knitting and the art of graffiti.  I am particularly amused by Banksy's depiction of knitting in his own street art:

I think at the heart of the matter, though, knitters enjoy the process of making their craft.  And after making sweaters and hats and scarves and mittens for all of their friends and family, there is some desire to bring joy to more people than they can reach directly.  Placing knitted graffiti in public places for hundreds of people to enjoy is a way to use craft to reach out and brighten the day of someone you might never meet.  After all, isn't it impossible not to smile when you find a streetlight wearing a sweater on your way to work?

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