Also called yarnbombing or graffiti knitting, yarnstorming is, according to Wikipedia “a type of street art that employs colourful displays of knitted or crocheted cloth rather than paint or chalk.”
These yarn installations are thought to have originated in Texas, but are now a worldwide phenomenon, taking off as knitting and other traditional crafts gain in popularity. People have covered everything from parking meters to whole phone booths, almost always anonymously and under cover of darkness. Even the Great Wall of China has been “tagged” by yarnstormers. There is simply nothing better than coming upon something like this (Soho, New York, last week):
It’s not uncommon to see random acts of art in Toronto, such as painted bike posts or intriguing stickers and stencils in public spaces. Yarnstorming takes this beautification a step further, offering up work that the observer may find too irresistible to leave where it is. This kind of thievery is expected, and even welcome. Why not share the joy? I couldn’t help but knit cosies for the plain and rather rusty traffic bollards outside Wise Daughters. The first set lasted a while (except for the irresistible pompoms), but the next set were taken within a week.
During the Junction Arts Festival last September, a group of Junction Yarnstormers beautified Dundas West. The odd remnant can still be seen high on a pole or in a tree. The public also helped cover a whole Nissan Cube, donated by AutoShare, with a colourful car cosy. The squares were subsequently turned into blankets for distribution by Streetknit (www.streetknit.ca).
This June 11 has been declared International Yarn Bombing Day (check out the Facebook page). Somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd weeks of June falls Worldwide Knit in Public Day. Last WWKPD, Wise Daughters co-hosted a public knitting shindig in the Junction with live music and free lessons.
Wise Daughters will be celebrating both the afternoon of June 12 with some serious yarn-related partying. Stay tuned for details.