Yarn bombing is a form of graffiti which uses knitting to dress architectural features like lampposts, bins, statues and even vehicles to make a social comment or to improve a dull and miserable area or feature. The practice is becoming a worldwide phenomenon and unlike painted graffiti the artwork can be removed at any time if necessary. Knitting is experiencing a significant resurgence amongst young people and so it should be little surprise that the hobbyists have strayed into the realm of social comment. Being socially aware, yarn bombers are now also showing concern for the origins of their materials and their ultimate fate.
A group of Yarn Bombers in New York who call themselves the “knitting entourage” are tackling projects outside businesses in the city. There will be one attack each month and the bombers started with the York Harbour Inn. The group hope to draw attention to the businesses and give the workers and the local community something to look forward to and art to brighten their environment. Some members of the group work at the knitting shop The Yarn Seller and so there is definitely an element of self-promotion in the activity but it is clear that these knitters do genuinely love their craft and wish to spread the word about the benefits o
f the hobby.
Benefits of Knitting
Indeed there are many positives to the art of knitting. Beyond the obvious fact that it is both an artistic and practical craft which enables you to produce your own unique garments, knitting is highly portable, can be practised almost anywhere and picked up and out down at will. It is, therefore, the perfect hobby for those with busy lives. Knitting has also been shown to be therapeutic and the establishment of knitting groups, collectives and charity projects have made it a social activity and force for good into the bargain.
The colourful output of Yarn bombers brightens a neighbourhood and has life and texture. The “Knitting Entourage” encourages passers-by to touch and feel the knitting in order to heighten their experience of the work. The hope is to both promote knitting and to inspire creativity in those who see the
The group are conscious of the amount of material they are using and the potential for waste. They use only donated or recycled yarn and after the projects have served their purpose the knitting will be taken down, unravelled and re-knitted into squares which will be fashioned into kitty beds for use in a local animal shelter.
It is hard to fault with what the “knitting entourage” are doing in giving a second and third life to yarns whilst helping local businesses and brightening the community. They are also promoting their own commercial enterprise but this is a very socially and environmentally friendly form of advertising!
- Photograph of Yarn Bombed Bike by Dominic Bartolini Via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
- Photograph of NYC Yarn Bomb (Plan Ahead) by New York City Department of Transportation Via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Guest article by blogger Sally Stacey, a great lover of arts and crafts and a frequent writer for knitting blogs and websites including Pack Lane Wool, where you can shop for wonderful Patons yarn.