Yarnbombing , Giant Plastic Slugs and Rubber Duckies

These enormous immovable slug sculptures are called ” Slowslugs  ” and are made of steel , netting and 40 ,000 recycled plastic bags . They were made for the Accroche Coers Festival in Angers, France and they were up for 10 days , Sept 7 to 17 , 2012 . The artist is Dutch street artist Floretijin Hofmann .

The slugs are placed so that they appear to be crawling slowly up the hills of Angers toward the towns’ big Catholic church . They are meant to symbolize mortality , religion , natural decay and the slow suffocation of commercial society .

Ok .  This image of these gigantic plastic bag slugs appeared suddenly , mysteriously and annoyingly with out any information on Facebook and it is my holy quest to document these sort of things .  I thought it was an astonishing sculpture , heavy and ponderous and also light , silly , childish and scary . The artist  Florentijin Hofman has made many of these cheerful , goofy and overwhelming outdoor animal installations – the most well known is probably  ” Rubber Duck ” in Osaka harbor ,  Japan in 2009 .

Hofman and his interns work for months on his outdoor sculptures and they are often up for only a few days . He tells his interns that in the end they will only remember the completed art and the time of work will fade out of mind .

His motto is  ”  Work Big ! ”

He also likes to use local materials and objects that are very familiar and normal to the viewer like the flip flops he used to make ” Fat Monkey ”  for the Pixelshow Conference in Sao Paulo in 2012 . The flip flops are his reference to pixels .

Work on this scale with such confidence ,  playfulness and swagger  gives a real rush of energy to create . It  lets us see yarnbombing street art in the context of other art made to be outside , made to be  interacting with people unexpectedly , art made to be  put up for a short time  and then  taken down . { My favorite story about people interacting with his art unexpectedly was that a woman in Osaka stopped to take a picture of ‘ Rubber Duck ” and her car drove into the harbor . }

This is a quote of Florentijin Hofman that is interesting :

” That’s how my work comes full circle: you change a public space by adding something new, then you change it back again by taking it out which is when you start to miss it. It really changes how people perceive public space. I can tell you countless stories of activists collecting signatures to keep the artwork in place, but like I said, missing it is part of the concept! ”

More here and here

Yarnbombing After A Landslide – Brienno , Lake Como , Italy

The small Italian town of Brienno , Lake Como was covered with knitting and crocheting  July 7 2012 exactly one year after the town suffered a massive and lethal landslide .

three great things about this

1 . In July 2011 endless rains caused a landslide that destroyed much of the center of Brienno . In April 2011 a textile artist called Eletta handmade read about yarnbombing in Aquila , Italy. The town of Aquila Italy was devastated in an enormous earthquake and knitters and crocheters from all over the world sent knitting to wrap around the ruined building , plazas and stairs .  Eletta  handmade decided to organize another global knitting effort to wrap around the wreckage of Brienno .

2. Appeals for knitting and crocheting went all over Italy and hundreds of pieces were made and sent including many by a woman who is 100 years old and crippled with arthritis { Her name is Nonna Rina }. 650 crocheted circles were made by the group ‘ Social Crochet ” to make a Tree Of Life ”

3 .  The yarnbombing was to be installed on the one year anniversary of the landslide – July 2012 . The night before the installation torrents of rain fell threatening another landslide . On the morning of July 7 2012 the rain stopped and town was yarnbombed . The mayor of the town helped yarnbomb .

What does this mean ? What good does it do to cover a town in knitting and crocheting after it has been destroyed by an earthquake or a landslide ?  This is a good question .

When a baby is born we knit the baby sweaters .

When a woman has cancer we knit her hats and shawls .

When someone is sad we wrap them up in a soft blanket and pat them .

This is a very old and kind impulse to bring softness , kindness , color and the work of our hands to a suffering situation .  And to bring the same things to celebrate life .

People will make art in the worst circumstances and will keep looking towards life and beauty . Art doesn’t have to be only harsh and aggressive – it can also be tender and reassuring .

And – the knitting looks wonderful and exhilarating against the ruins . This would have been a wonder to see .

more about the yarnbombing here

yarnbombing and The ” Assault on Zaragoza ” Spain

This is # 8 Liberty Street in the old quarter of Zaragoza  , Spain – yarnbombed on Thursday Sept 13 by 100 woman .
3 great Things About This

1 . This yarnbombing was one of 10 interventions done all over Zaragoza through ”  The Assault Festival of Street Art ” .  This was done with the cooperation of the city of Zaragoza who contributed 45,000 euros .

Funding ! Cooperation !  Recognition of yarnbombing as legitimate street art !  All very new and exciting.

2 . This is a huge yarnbombing . There are more than a thousand 20 x 20 squares. The wall of knitting and crocheting is 50 square meters. 1oo woman knit for almost 6 months to make this .

It was made only by woman .

There a re a number of  ” Urban Knitting   ” guerrilla yarnbombing groups in Spain in the cities of Zaragoza , Bilboa , Castellar and others and they often collaborate as they did for this yarnbombing .

3 .  The ministry of culture for Zaragoza described the intention of this yarnbombing was to build a more positive city through spontaneous art and color .

What does this mean that larger and larger groups of mostly woman are covering buses , entire buildings , entire towns with knitting and crocheting ? That this is being welcomed into the tough mostly male world of street art ? Welcomed by huge art festivals ?

Joy , passion , freedom and ambition are thrilling through these woman artists and they are making a world .

Montse Palacian said that the colors of this knitted installation had a particular meaning –

the light rich colors are to express joy and

the dark heavy colors are to express the fears and frustrations we all have .

I am very happy to hear yarnbombers start to talk about the power of their work  and it’s meaning . Yarnbombing is fun but it’s not trivial .

This part of the city  Zaragoza must be so intensely energized by all this knitting , time , effort , feeling and color.  It’s a new kind of house – the beautifully dressed up  house . Like making clothes for dolls , robes for statues of saints ,  ritual clothes for festivals . This is the power and protection that is put into a handmade object through a lot of time , concentration and devotion.

The textile becomes a spirit object.

Very  ,very interesting .

more about this here

all photos by Urban Knitting Zaragoza .

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Yarnbombing And Giant Octopus

This giant octopus – 4 meters around – is called ‘ 20,00 Bags Under The Sea  ” and was made by the Australian artist Jacq Chorlton in 2010

3 Great Things About This

1. The octopus is made entirely of woven recycled plastic bags.

2 .It was shown in a sculpture show on the beach – The Rockingham Castaway Sculpture Awards in Rockingham , Australia .

3. It won ” The People’s Choice Award ” .

Creative secret ;

Jacq Chorlton is a production artist who owns Funkydory Art , she makes recycled clocks . She uses the yearly sculpture show as a way to organize and inspire herself to make big ambitious sculptures . We need goals and time devices to help us set aside regular time to make something big and expressive , we can’t just cram it in to everyday life with out some help .

Aesthetics ;
This is a radiant piece by any measure , the color s , the stripes , the button tentacles are delightful . The plastic on the beach is a beautiful and pointed reference to the bad impact plastic bags have on our marine life .

Plastic bags are such a curse and so annoyingly useful and make us all feel so guilty . It’s nice to have a rest from that and just enjoy Jacq Chorlton’s joyful art making .

more here http://www.facebook.com/FunkydoryArt

Yarnbombing – A Yarnbombed Bus In Iceland

The Reykjavik Underground Yarnstormers yarnbombed a bus for Culture Night Aug 18 2012 in Reykjavik , Iceland .

30 knitters and crocheters worked for 6 weeks to make the installation .  It took  20 yarnbombers 8 hours to install .  The yarnbombing will stay up until it wears out .

What I Love About This

The Reykjavik Yarnstormers were asked to do this – I love that yarnbombers are being asked to contribute to everything now , festivals , country fairs , museums , city improvements , libraries , gallery shows . It’s such an act of generosity by the knitters – they usually do it for love and fun not money . This bus is beautiful and filled with finely detailed crocheted lace and fair isle knitting , you would feel like you are in your home while you were out in public . A chance to ride around in art .

Plus it’s Iceland , it seems like all the buses should be knitted . It’s bus 196 if you go see to Iceland to see it .

All pictures and the story are from Reykjavik Underground Yarnstormers  here .

Yarnbombing And The Seattle Mariner’s Glove

                                                                                                             photo by Suzanne Tidwell

The Seattle Mariner’s Baseball Glove sculpture outside Safeco Stadium yarnbombed July 26 2012 .

3  Great Things About This

1 . The Glove was yarnbombed for Stitch And Pitch , A festive occasion for people who like to knit and cheer at baseball games .  And there are many.

2. This was knit through World Visions U.S.A. with Knit for Kids Initiative . That means all the knitting will be sent to children when this yarnbomb is taken down . The knitting itself was done by Pacific Fibers with the great Seattle yarnbomber Suzanne Tidwell consulting and knitting the spine .

3. The first pitch at the game was thrown out by writer Debbie MacComber who often writes about knitting .  I think more knitting writers should go into professional baseball . Also The Mariners won .

Creative secret :   We all need a reason to create . We need to have it clear in our mind – or we won’t create – we will  just wash the dishes instead .

Here are 2  great reasons – make a great yarnbomb  to delight the Mariners baseball fans  and then give all the knitting to children afterwards .  Art and charity and knitting  .

Aesthetics  ;  A giant knitted glove  – your eye can clearly see that this is a baseball glove and it’s so humorous to see it knit . We all have had knitted gloves to wear so when you look at the knitting you can feel it in your body  .  It’s beautiful and reassuring at the same time .

more about Suzanne Tidwell here

Yarnbombing And Knitted Tractors

This yarnbombed tractor was created by The Athenry Craft And Chat group for The Athenry Agricultural Show in Galway Ireland July 8 2012.  Photo By  Helen Jennings .

3 Great Things About This

1.This tractor was knitted over 4 months by 29 members of the Craft group . How they must have chortled together imagining a tractor !!! covered in knitting . And crocheting  .

2 . How does one come up with an idea like ” You know – we should yarnbomb a tractor ! ”

This is how :   A member of this group was busy yarnbombing with A Galway university knitting group . { It seems that everyone in Galway yarnbombs with great fortitude , even the children } So this woman was talking to a member of The Athenry Agricultural Show who thought a yarnbombed tractor would be a great draw for the show . So they found a farmer with a restored tractor and persuaded him that it should be yarnbombed .

3. This tractor is now in a prettiest tractor in Ireland competition .

Creative Secret  : This is really one of the most delirious yarnbombings I’ve seen . So – think of the most crazy idea you can possibly come up with and get all your friends to help .

Aesthetics ; Many textile artists are interested in the contrast of male and female and use knitting with guns and tanks and men’s locker rooms . I like the  pretty colorful knitting on a nice metal tractor . But it’s a cliche to say men drive tractors and woman knit.

It’s a truth to say we all want to create what ever we want to create .

There is  the satisfying image of a farmer driving this tractor through the fields . Yarnbombing has this comic  quality that transforms an every day object into something delightful .

So while you are thinking this over I leave you with this another bonus yarnbomb .

Yarnbombed porta potty by Sue Caldwell and the patrons of her knitting store ” Lovelyarns ” in Baltimore Maryland .  ArtScape festival June 21 2012 Baltimore Maryland .

more here and here

yarnbombing And Knitted Houses

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This knitted house was made for The London Architecture Biennale by the group Knitting Site in June 2006.

3  Great Thing About This

1 . The house was knit over a 2 storey scaffolding on the site.

2. It was knitted from all recycled materials , plastic  , garbage bags and rope. The group said they really like building materials .

3 .A quote from the group ” While some people think knitting should remain behind walls , we build walls that are knitted ”

Creative secret – Use odd, old and recycled materials to knit with . Knit very big , make a shelter from knitting .

Aesthetics – The plastic makes this house transparent so you can see the houses behind it . The earthy colors look like grass – nice contrast to the coarse urban materials.

Yarnbombing And The Galway Hooker

This Sail sculpture  in  Eyre Square , Galway , Ireland was yarnbombed Monday June 4 2012.

3  Great things about this:

1 . This yarnbomb was made by the school children of a local school – Tirellan National School . A teacher at the school – Karla Bodeker  – saw a book on yarnbombing and asked the children at the school if they would like to make an installation .  At the beginning most of the children could not knit and were taught by their grandparents , aunts , uncles and friends. The knitting took almost 5 months. 134 students knit and made 2086 patches.

2 .  This sculpture refers to a traditional fishing boat called  ” The Galway  Hooker. ”

3.The yarnbomb was installed and then guarded over night to stop vandals. I hope it was the children guarding.

Creative secret ; Children are great artist , loose , confident , playful , unafraid of color.

Making art is natural .

Aesthetics ; The repeating squares are like musical beats. Color and pattern look wonderful over 3- d shapes, the sail shapes are especially exhilarating covered with color . Wonderful.

Links. http://galwayindependent.com/stories/item/2805/2012-25/No-more-plain-sailing!

Yarnbombing And Global Yarnbombing

I hate yarnbombing puns but global yarnbombing sounds so much like global warming which yarnbombing does in an arty way .

I find myself consumed with reading about yarnbombing all over the world and taking illegible notes in my ruled notebook. I am always getting obsessed with something and I have learned to just go after it . I have been sitting and waiting for a long time for someone to thoroughly document everything about international yarnbombing . It would be such a valuable , time consuming , thankless , unpaid and odd undertaking.

Perfect for me.

So I’m starting a new series here to document the fantastic yarnbombing streetart of others . With some of my undertakings shoved in too.

On that note – this well chronicled North Berkeley Library bike rack has had a ridiculous ending – someone stole it last week after  only 2 weeks of it being up .

What did I learn from this .

Maybe that it’s not worth all the trouble of asking permission for an ephemeral out door undertaking that can be easily swiped.

Maybe that I would like to do some bigger legal commissions. We shall see.

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