Yarnbombing And Little Gifts

‘It’s 100 degrees in Palm Springs “my brother told me . We were all going to Palm Springs for a family reunion and I was wondering about the temperature. 100 degrees ! That didn’t sound like a good temperature . That sounded like we were all going to fry like little eggs !

“Oh , it’s dry heat ‘my brother continued dryly.’You can sit in the pool . So – Are you going to yarnbomb while you are here ?”

‘Um , sure. I can bring something .” I said . Most of the tags I have are 15 ft skinny bannister covers for the Oakland Museum .

“Maybe you could yarnbomb the house itself !’

Hmm , that actually sounded fun and like a good little house warming gift for the owner . I had been seeing yarnbombing in Roche Bobois catalogues. I wanted to yarnbomb my own house but I always want more fame and glory than I can get for that .

We flew to Palm Springs and were driven to our vacation house . The house and pool and tennis court and 2 waterfalls and hot tub and 6 bathrooms were supreme. I had never seen a house with an outdoor kitchen . There were so many bedrooms that I could never find mine. The lighting was done by a Broadway theater lighting guy. I just stood around lighting things .  This house definitely needed a little yarnbomb.

I decided to yarnbomb one of the pool chairs. I wanted something pretty that you would notice –  but subtle , nothing very aggressive.

I thought it was a good little gift . Knitting is always about giving gifts to the people you love . Yarnbombing is also a gift – just to a wider and more unsuspecting audience . I like the idea of going to friend’s houses and sneaking off and yarnbombing their furniture.

This little vacation in Palm Springs was a gift.  To be with lots of people you love all at once -what could be more complete ? I try to remember that all of life is a gift to enjoy. I remember this about once a month .

And dry heat ? Great.

A little yarnbombing link here.

Yarnbombing And Change

Last weekend I went to a big wedding and saw some old friends that I hadn’t sen in a long time . This was good , they hadn’t heard of yarnbombing before so I could talk a lot about it . I look forward to this -my regular friends and my sweetheart are already hearing as much about yarnbombing as anyone could possibly stand .

So we were sitting at a table after dinner eating cake. We really had a lot of cake , the wedding cake had 3 layers –  carrot , chocolate with white frosting and red velvet . I think we had 3 pieces of each and Beverly had gotten me a glass of milk too . I was talking about the Oakland Museum of California installation. We have 7  bannisters  , 2 chairs and one bench knitted. We have one bench , 8 short bannisters and a tree to go. I’m also organizing a street show of International yarnbombers for the streets of Oakland – I have 6 pieces for that so far. { I know some of you know all this already and I am repeating myself –  but maybe some people don’t know yet !}

I was talking about imagining your biggest dreams -letting your imagination go as far as it could , make it really wild , really big . { I got this idea  from my writer friend N. } My big idea right now is to take big rolls of chain link fence and bead them and put them out on the street and in galleries.

My friends were listening nicely to this and Holtz said ” That’s great -I think about my great ideas but then I think that I would fail if I tried them !”

” Yes -I know what you mean -I think about it differently now . I think about my ideas and I think –

How would I need to change in order to be able to do that idea ?”

Everyone thought about that for a moment and then we took our cake and went outside and danced the last 2 wedding dances .

So we are looking at pictures of the knitting for the bannisters for the Oakland Museum installation. The Oakland Standard has put up a page about this installation here.

One of my yarnbombs was on  ABC News Good Morning America   last Thursday . This seems like it would be very exciting but it was kind of silly . And they mislabeled my yarnbomb as Domus , N. Y. instead of Streetcolor. Sorry Dad.   You can take a look here.

Yarnbombing And Beaded Fences

Why have male artists  often been more successful than female artists ?  I think one reason is that men can be more comfortable using many people’s energy for their ideas . Woman can fall into caretaking everyone in the group . This drains a woman’s energy  instead of building it . Men can sometimes drain the group for themselves . This makes for big projects and miserable groups. I know that it is possible for a group to build a strong , exciting energy that inspires everyone and doesn’t exploit anyone . I’m thinking about how to do this for my large streetart installations .

When I started yarnbombing I really didn’t want to have a crew . I wanted to make art that was about my own fun – not about how supportive could I be to everyone else .   I wanted to be known as Streetcolor ,  I wanted to get some anonymous fame . Later I joined with The Russian and I found working with a partner made me more daring  and got me to yarnbomb every week.  And  it was more fun to yarnbomb with someone .   If I could resist thinking I had to take care of her .

After I had fully satisfied my needs for attention I started to have new needs. I needed to make really big installations that I could do with  a museum and I persuaded The Oakland Museum Of California through The Oakland Standard to let me yarnbomb their building. This installation is taking 6 knitters for the inside and over 18 for the outside . I’m really enjoying this bigger energy-everyone having fun as one – everyone supported by art.

Yarnbombing has taught me that the  whole world is an art gallery . I have been looking at chain link fences for years wanting to bead them . I started beading these fences a few weeks ago near my home . I like the contrast of the coarse barren metal with the shining delicate beads ,you have to come close to the fence to see all the beauty of beads . Now I want to cover the whole world with beads.

Yarnbombing Oakland -Inside and Out

So I have a commission to yarnbomb The Oakland Museum of California in mid Oct . I will be doing this through The Oakland Standard . More about them here . I will be yarnbombing the 4 bannisters in the front of the building out on the street , the 3 bannisters going down into the building ,  bannisters going down into the garden , 2 benches and 2 chairs that are part of  the architectural Jensen installation. And maybe a tree.  All handspun yarn .

The reason that this installation is so extreme is this .  I came up with it and I wanted it to be really big – something that would be big enough that it wouldn’t make me think about knitting and yarnbombing in a whole new way . Too big to be just ‘cute ‘

So now I go around begging my friends to help me knit .  I now have  Brenda Loreman , The Russian , Hargus Rose , The Fibrarian , and Anna Wong all knitting . And I spin all the time . And watch ” Star Trek Next Generation .”

It’s interesting to me how I get really excited and then really doubtful ,alternating . We tend to swerve away from what we really want .

This yarnbombing installation will go up in mid Oct 2011 and will be up for a month . I am so impressed with The Oakland Museum of California -this could be a first -yarnbombing the building of a museum inside and out .

International Yarnbombing Show On The Streets of Oakland , Ca.

At the same time this installation is up I want to put up a yarnbombing street art show using the streets of Oakland as a gallery . I am asking for yarnbombs from all over the world , signed by their artists with names and countries and I will sew them up on street poles , bike racks , parking meters , lamp posts and fences . I need tags that are 7.5 inches around { stretches measurement so they don’t slide down } and 4 to 8 ft long . I want people to get to see the amazing things you can do with knitting and crocheting f , so I’m hoping for ruffles , flowers , fairisle , cables , buttons , bobbles , protrusions  and lots of color .

I need yarnbombs to start coming around Oct 10 so I can start installing . I will take pictures and post them and documant the whole deal

Turning a city into a gallery of knitted street art at the same time a museum has an installation- I like what this says about art , knitting , street art , out new global internet life , freedom and doing what you want .

You may reach me at http://www.streetcolorart.gmail.com  and I will give you a mailing address. { Don’t want to tell everyone who I truly am ! }

i just got a message on Facebook from Dagmar Reichardt that she will help me reach knitters in Germany and Japan. Oh my.

Yarnbombing And Sugar

I often dream I am at a bakery and I am having every different chocolate cake , scone , cream cake , strawberry short cake , custard pie , chocolate truffle and lemon cream pie that they have in their glass case . On Sunday I met The Russian at Sweet Adelaine ‘ s  Bakery in Berkeley and that bakery is like my dream. The counter top and glass case is crammed with cookies , scones ,  fruit buckle cake , blondies , chocolate pave ,  everything I dream about . Unbelievably -I had a chicken curry sandwich , a piece of quiche and just one chocolate chip cookie . I knew I had hours and hours of yarnbombing to do and I didn’t want to get delirious.

I really liked that bakery and there was a good 3 loop bike rack outside . I considered ditching my plan to yarnbomb The Lakeshore library and  spend the day eating cookies and yarnbombing Sweet Adelaine’ s  instead but The Russian sweetly reminded me that I care  deeply about yarnbombing all the libraries of Oakland . So I went my way .

People often ask me about my assistant The Russian . Well she is going off to art school in San Francisco today and I am very proud .  And jealous.

So I drove over to Lakeshore which is very pretty and confusing to drive around . I drove around and around and finally parked my car . I yarnbombed The Lakeshore Library – I’ll tell you about that later – and then I went over to the big Gazebo by Lake Merritt and contemplated 3 lovely little bike racks .  ” They aren’t really a library ” I rationalized  ” But they are very near one and they would look exceptionally nice yarnbombed . ” So I yarnbombed them .

5 bike racks is a lot of sewing so I tried hard to stay relaxed .I’m always nervous at first , sewing and watching police cars drive by and wondering how the police are feeling today in Oakland . Eventually the sun and the shining like soothed me and I began to enjoy the beautiful and totally absurd act of yarnbombing.

The colors are very sugary on this installation . This made it very appealing to small children . A very little girl came and swung on a loop while I sewed . She came very close to me and fingered my pink sewing yarn . Then she wrapped my strip of knitting around her hand in a businesslike sort of way and tried to walk off with it . Sadly , I had to take it away . Later an older woman with a plastic badge around her neck came to watch me and she couldn’t stop giggling at what I was doing . She said she was from Hong Kong and she told me many things in Chinese . She wanted to help me so she held my knitting as I sewed. She held it very tight and crooked so it was only slightly helpful .

More people came by marching for peace . They have been marching for many years and may never get done . They knew all about my yarnbombing on College Ave . A woman and her photographer showed up next and said ” Can we photograph out shoes on your yarnbomb ?”

‘Ok ” I said in confusion . The woman sat down on a bike loop and promptly started to fall off as the knitting spun around . I devotedly hoped if she fell off that she wouldn’t sue me .

I sewed and sewed and worked on a little meditation exercise . Doing . Not doing . Feeling the Not Doing in my body .

At this point I realized that I had no idea where I had parked my car.

When this piece was all done it really looked like something . I couldn’t stop taking pictures . Sometimes yarnbombing looks like another world coming through this one . 2 woman stopped big smiles .” ‘This is your best one ever ” they said .

“I’ll quote you ” I said.

Then I went off to try and find my car .

Yarnbombing and Winston Churchill : The Temescal Library , Oakland , Ca.

When I’m not thinking about The Civil War I sometimes think about Winston Churchill. I like his quote “Never , never , never , never give in ” And to the French he declared ; ” Whatever you may do , we shall fight on forever and ever and ever. ”

This may seem an extreme motto for a yarnbomber but it’s more about going on and making art every day under all circumstances. I know Churchill was probably racist and anti Semitic but he was so wonderfully undefeatable. He invented the tank and he was a tank .

I love this quote too” Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous states have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule , we shall not flag or fail . We shall go on to the end . We shall fight in France , we shall fight on the seas and oceans , we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air , we shall defend our island , whatever the cost may be , we shall fight on the beaches , we shall fight on the landing grounds , we shall fight on the fields and in the streets , we shall fight in the hills ; we shall never surrender . ”

Ok I hope you’re feeling strengthened

I was really worn out on Wednesday and I accidently slept until 12 . I wanted to yarnbomb the Temescal library in Oakland as part of my Oakland Library series so I shoved my clothes on , ate some dark chocolate with cherries and stomped off to the Temescal Library .

The library is actually pretty fine , it’s a graceful old brick building on Broadway and 52 . There’s a bus stop right in front of it with a bench and a pretty little lawn . I stood in front of the Library and looked for things to yarnbomb . The railings were shapely and alluring but I was not in the mood to do any thing nerve racking or questionable . I wanted to make a gift to the library not vandalize it . I decided to yarnbomb the 3 loop bike rack on the left . It took a long time to sew it up by myself but it was an enjoyable self contained task.

When I was done the manager of the library came out and was wildly enthusiastic . That’s always nice . And the thing was – the knitting did change the whole street . It looked like their was art present . It made the street and the library look interesting , colorful , disconcerting and new.

Yarnbombing works !

I have a friend Maria Mortati who has a mobile museum . I want a mobile museum . She has a blog here with a bit about yarnbombing.

Yarnbombing And Crocheting : Rockridge Library , Oakland

I taught my mother how to crochet when I was 9 or 10. I think small children should be taught how to sew , knit , crochet , bake bread , make shoes , play the piano and speak French and then they can go home and teach their parents . This will make the world a better place . This is my plan .

So any way I taught my mother to crochet and she made a white , orange and black acrylic afghan which we treasured and took to hockey games for years . I must have taught myself to crochet from a book . My crocheting career has had many highlights. I took a college course in crochet , I crocheted a lumpy pink bathing cap that looked sort of like a brain . I also crocheted my way through 2 encyclopedias of crochet patterns a few years ago , I really enjoyed that a lot . For yarnbombing crocheting is supreme for adding large , luxurious,Victorian looking flowers .

The vigerous right hand movement of crocheting makes me feel very busy and productive I . I notice that sewing , beading , knitting , drop spinning , wheel spinning , crocheting each have their own movement and each movement calms me in a different way like a special tuning of my body . Drop spinning clears my mind and lets thoughts form easily. Sewing beads is best for despair. Crocheting is beat for building enthusiasm.

I imagine people who play lots of instruments or like to do different kinds of exercise have these fine points too.

I sewed this yarnbomb up last Wednesday outside the Rockridge Library in Oakland . It’s the third in my Oakland library series. As I was sewing a young man in sunglasses sat down near me and started smoking a cigarette. He stared at me and then suddenly focused on what I was doing and said ” That’s vandalism you know . I should call the police . ”

I stiffened for a second and then realized he was joking . ” The Oakland police don’t care . ” I said ” We had 7 police watch us put up a yarnbomb once ‘

“I know ” he said . ” I paint murals now but I used to tag . I loved it , but you can get sent to jail for it ! Jail for art , can you imagine ? ‘

I imagined and was very glad that I have never been .

A small article in the Piedmont Patch about the yarnbomb at their library.  here.

Some more crocheted flowers from my yarnbombing past.

Yarnbombing and How Art Sustains Us : The Piedmont Library Yarnbombing

” Oh streetcolor ‘ you might say ” What happened to your grand scheme to yarnbomb all the Oakland Libraries ? You make these big plans , where’s the yarnbombing ? ” Well my life went into an avalanche and I’ve been crawling around and occasionally spinning a little on my drop spindle . For 2 weeks . Then yesterday I was still  tired out but I thought I really wanted to yarnbomb . So I drove over to the Piedmont library in Oakland and put up this little bike rack. And after I had yarnbombed I felt so much better – tired but I felt energy in my body -I felt fed.

I knew that making art is a big energy source in my life but this was  experiencing art as food. Sometimes when I’m endlessly eating chocolate and peanut butter I think ” Maybe you should look at an art book ! ”  I do and I calm down and feel full . Looking at art , knitting , spinning , drawing , beading , looking at my art books – I need hours of this every day to stay happy and content . Are you hungry for something ?

So this little bike rack came from a Toulouse  Lautrec print I liked . It was of a French woman in a ruffled orange shirt and a ruffled blue skirt . I wanted the ruffles to flow out of the knitting .

I seem fixed on bike racks  . I love seeing the knitting on the curve .  A woman was unlocking her bike as I sewed up this piece and I think she was sorely puzzled by my activity .

I look for activities that get me more into the moment . People have told me to be in the moment and I thought it meant- get into the moment and endure being really bored. But now getting into the moment feels like ‘”relax and enjoy how great life is  ” . I can feel energy flowing . When I was sewing up this yarnbomb I felt the sun on my body and saw shafts of light on the street. It was warm and cool and someone was playing the banjo. I like pulling a needle through knitting . The wool felt cushy over the cold hard metal. Very delicious .

This Piedmont Library yarnbomb is the 2nd Oakland Library yarnbomb in my series . The library was open  and all sorts of people were ambling in and out enjoying their books. Libraries are the best part of a community I think. I love them . Thank you libraries.

My link today is to a little article in Diablo Magazine about The Orinda Library Bike Rack  .  Here.

This is a funny story -when we put up this bike rack I thought that no one would ever see it because it is so secluded . It’s in a in a sculpture garden off the street . And I thought ” It’s ok if no one sees it , I love this library and I want to honor it .

And this yarnbomb ended up In Diablo Magazine and in Time magazine .

You never know what”s going to happen.

Yarnbombing and De Yarnbombing – Pt. Reyes Station

You want to run and jump into yarnbombing . It’s really best if you don’t think much about what is going to happen to your yarnbombs , thinking will only slow you down. Make thrilling work – get it up . Later on different things will happen , some yarnbombs get taken right down by authorities , some are swiped by teenagers or even gangs , some will become famous and some yarnbombs will stay up  forever or until you take them down . I did not expect this at all and now I have many yarnbombs which have been up for months and months.

I put yarnbombs up to enjoy looking at them and at some point I don’t like looking at them  if they are getting ripped and smudged . I didn’t want to be sad when I took them down so I have started knitting replacement yarnbombs . A favorite piece of ours is a bannister we put up in Pt. Reyes Station , a tranquil little town along the coast  . We have gotten lots of blogs and remarks on this particular bit of knitting and we wanted to reward this loving energy . So we knit 2 new bright glass colored yarnbombs to replace the old bannister. We  had a calm and beautiful drive out and went excitedly over to see our old yarnbombs .

As you can see – the old piece looked pretty good still although all our tags had been cut off and it was a little shrucken from being outside and rained on for 8 months . Still – not bad ! We cut it down any way and sewed on our 2 new pieces . The Russian knit these pieces and I put on the ruffles. As we sewed the knitting on the bannister lots of people stopped to ask us what this was . I thought everyone knew what yarnbombing was and were already sick of it . So I was glad that yarnbombing was still news to so many.

I get a lot of energy from talking to people when I am yarnbombing , especially if they keep saying ” Beautiful Beautiful ! ” I realized a long time ago that life was simple -if you have too little energy you fell bad and depressed and if you have lots of energy you feel great . How do you get lots of energy with out becoming a wee drug fiend ? I always make art for energy but you can also eat chocolate , run around outside looking at trees , go look at art , visit babies , see your favorite people ,  take 3 breaths . Or go out and talk to everyone as you yarnbomb.

I know people who talk about their passions from the time they get up in the morning until they go to bed at night . This is an interesting way to get energy and I would like to try it .

When we were done sewing these yarnbombs the kind man who owns the Pt. Reyes Bookstore bought us 2 short bread cookies , one chocolate cherry cookie and 2 cups of peppermint tea as a reward for our street art . This is an excellent way to thank us if you ever want to.

So I took those old yarnbombs home and washed them. They are a little felted and full of holes but still quite beautiful.

This is a great Oakland blog with A zany yarnbomb of mine at the Oakland library here .

Yarnbombing With A Theme -The Oakland Libraries

I never thought I could feel guilty about not  yarnbombing . I didn ‘ t have the thrilling idea , that idea that makes you want to run out the door in your pajamas with out breakfast because you ‘re so excited and nervous that you have to yarnbomb right away . I had been in quite a lull .

It started when my internet connection went down 3 weeks ago and I intensely realized how addicted I was to checking Facebook . This was a slap and I decided to stay off the web ,  I felt that it was making me unhappy.

Yarnbombing had introduced me to the pleasures of the Internet , the slow heady , steady drip of attention , blog hits , Facebook friends and media attention . I got up every morning and went straight to my blog . Is this normal ? Does this make everyone happy ? I decided to look 4 times a day -no more . And then gradually I realized that I wasn’t yarnbombing anymore .

Oh I was still knitting and making art , you have to make art at all times , under all circumstances . But I wasn’t yarnbombing , putting it up . I thought of many ideas , redo my neighborhood , go yarnbomb  the Art Museums in San Francisco , drive down the coast of California and bother the people in Venice and Los Angeles . But I’d done most of that already . I continued knitting and in my spare time invented a new form of streetart . No yarnbombing .

Last night I was thinking about The Oakland Libraries -they just barely skirted a huge catastrophe this month . The mayor of Oakland had proposed almost completely shutting down the whole library system citywide to save money. Many ingenious protests erupted including a zombie walk for Libraries . Closing down all the Libraries ! Doesn’t that take your breath away ? Well this didn’t happen thank goodness but it made me pretty frantic . As  I was reading about the Oakland libraries my thrilling idea suddenly came . I wanted to celebrate Oakland ‘s libraries by yarnbombing them ,  hopefully all of them . I had the feeling -I wanted to yarnbomb in my pajamas .

This morning I printed out many maps and stuffed my purple back pack with plastic bags of knitting . I was very excited , probably too excited it turned out . I drove over the The Golden Gate Branch of the Oakland Library system , a place I had never been . I parked and noticed that I had spilled my water bottle all over my  car seat . I got out and looked all around . I wanted to yarnbomb the railing . I sewed a pretty wide strip on the railing folded up for a padded look using mattress stitch so it looks seamless . I was very nervous , there was a very clear sign saying ” No Graffiti ! ” It was fun to have that adrenaline . I thought the knitting looked fresh and clean on the beautiful old rusting railing . I thought it was the right combination of modesty and obviousness . It went so well that I decided to go off and yarnbomb again

Except I took the wrong freeway entrance and ended up heading off towards San Francisco . And in trying to get off the freeway I ended up driving  illegally onto the Bus ramp and onto the Bridge . There were lots of signs saying  ” Illegal !  Big , Big Fine ! ”

So I drove to San Francisco and back and just went home . It’s so tricky to get just the right combination of excitement and sanity …..

This is a good article about yarnbombing  here .