‘Yarnbombing’ craze comes to Windsor Locks
By Samantha Figueroa - ReminderNews
Windsor Locks - posted Thu., Oct. 3, 2013
An enthusiastic group of knitters and crocheters met at the Windsor Locks Public Library on Sept. 26 to learn about “yarnbombing” - a new type of fiber street art – from presenter Barbara Steele.
Yarnbombers world-wide will leave their knitted creations on poles, benches, statues, everywhere and anywhere, with the purpose of creative expression and beautifying an urban landscape. Yarnbombs come in all shapes and sizes, from a little flower adorning a park bench to a colorful wrap that can cover an entire bus. According to Steele’s handout, yarnbombing, also known as “urban knitting” or “knit graffiti, “started out as a personal decorative, creative expression, an attempt to beautify, personalize and bring warmth and perhaps a smile to cold, sterile, urban public places.”
“It came to have the term ‘yarnbombing’ because it is a graffiti,” Steele explained. “‘Bombing’ is a term borrowed from spray-painters.” However, unlike more permanent forms of graffiti, yarnbombers expect their creations to be lost to the weather or go home with someone else.
Steele showed slides of yarnbombs by well known yarnbombers all over the world. The slides featured whimsical yarnbombs from sweaters and hats put on statues or sea dragons adorning public bike racks to trees and even whole bridges. Steele also featured yarnbombs whose intentions were to beautify, including one artist that used yarnbombs as colorful filler for potholes in the sidewalks and colorful crocheted spiderwebs in the trees.
Yarnbombers may also make a political statement, Steele pointed out, showing slides of tanks completely covered in yarn as both a memorial tribute and an anti-war protest. While Steele showed some examples of sanctioned yarnbombings, for the most part yarnbombs are still considered the defacing of public property and many artists take pseudonyms to protect their anonymity, such as “Streetcolor Art” or “Captaine Crochet,” who were two yarnbombers that Steele referenced.
When asked what she thought drew people to the art of yarnbombing, Steele said, “I think the warmth of the fiber, the flexibility of the fiber, the portable nature, the fact that it is a very comforting, protective thing to wrap something in yarn. It’s also somewhat feminine thing to do, so I think a lot of people are attracted to it because of the softness of it.”
“If you’re a knitter or a crocheter, it’s just another creative outlet for displaying what you can do,” Maureen Arbogast said about yarnbombing, after watching Steele’s presentation.
“I’m a huge knitter,” said Kristie Mund, who brought her young daughter Shannon with her to the presentation.
As Steele concluded, “You can’t help but smile when you see a yarnbomb.”