Songline for a Scenic Fence

How I yarn bomb.

What is a yarn bomb?

A yarn bomb is an installation of knitted or crocheted fabric. It’s a philosophy in which a fibre artist creates a non-permanent piece, which they “detonate” in a public (or private) space. The artist most often remains anonymous. Sometimes a yarn bomb will make a political statement:

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“What the Hekia Thinking?”

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“Tolley’s Folly for the School Tea Trolley”.

Sometimes it’s a response to shape or space:

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“Arms”.

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“Big Stripe-y Lie”.

Sometimes it is just random.

“Songline for a Scenic Fence”.

Essentially it is knitted/crocheted graffitiImage.

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“Window Bomb”.

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“Knob”.

Why make yarn bombs?

I believe art is for everyone. I believe creativity is an essential “literacy”. I do it in response to situations, things and objects. I LOVE colour and I like to see colour in my environment. I like surprising people and putting something beautiful in a place they were not expecting. I like craftivism – political activism through craft.

I decided to replace the mosaic sign in Titirangi (West Auckland) that was stolen one night – it had been missing for over 12 months and the plinth left bare. I measured up, bought 8-ply acrylic yarn, drew a plan, and got crocheting.

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“Sketch”

I had a paper template on my living room floor for weeks that I was slowly filling with circles. Finally I had enough and decided on one last measurement check – and of course – the beautiful mosaic had been replaced.

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“Template”

I had to hatch a plan B. Fortunately – I hadn’t yet joined them together so decided to make little clusters and combinations. I then looked for a public space where (hopefully) they would be noticed and enjoyed by people. I decided on the long council fence at the top of Titirangi Rd.

How do you do it?

Most of my yarn bombing has been crocheted. Essentially I create a basic circle or square – but you can create any shape at all.

Here are some links to useful patterns:

http://crochet.about.com/od/afghansquaresandblocks/tp/crochet-squares-free-patterns.htm

I love bold colour and stripes so much of what I make is full of contrasting tones.

I attach the bombs to the fence or structure of my choice using cable ties. I like to stretch my crocheted textiles aggressively to create exaggerated shapes – my circles generally become quite cellular or viral looking.

Initial experiments involved creating a range of circles – size and colour combos – each of which was edged in black.

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“Before edging”.

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“Edged in Black”.

I then joined some of the edged circles together to create a multicellular bomb – which when stretched created even more unusual shapes.

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“Joined”.

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“Stretched”.

When do you do it – installation?

Due to the nature of yarn bombing being a form of graffiti and possibly “illegal” in some circumstances – many artists choose to install under cover of dark or in disguises. I actually installed mine mid afternoon on a main road in full view of probably 20-30 people driving and walking past. I got toots and a few stern looks but a heck of a lot of smiles.

Where to put yarn bombs?

I chose to bomb my local area because I really believe in enriching your own community and environment. It also meant I could keep an eye on them to watch how the public “viewed” them. I am currently favouring public wire fences as they have plenty of places to attach to.

The ultimate feedback was to see one of my “bombs” on a social networking site – shared by someone who did not know me. I was chuffed that she felt it worthy of stopping to take a picture to share.

Who yarn bombs?

I know of an 82-year-old grandmother who has bombed the shops in Thames with wordy puns like “I’ve got Knits” outside the yarn shop, a barbers stripe for outside the barber and a shower for outside the plumber. I know of several teens who are actively creating fibre installations in their schools or tertiary institutes. Basically – yarn bombing can be done by anyone with craft skills and a slightly rebellious urge.

I am a 46 mother of two teens and a school music teacher. My students know all about my fibre arts obsessive – so it was a joy when some of them noticed my recent bombing and asked me all about it. They expressed how much of a rebel they thought I was which made me quite happy. My catch phrase has become – “with a rebel yell, she cried Bomb, Bomb, Bomb.”

Power to the people!

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