CROCHETI: Do you have the balls (of yarn) to make a statement in Van?

Have you ever stuck a piece of chewed gum under a desk in hopes that the next person to sit there would accidentally feel it and recoil their hand in horror? Or carved your initials with your boyfriend’s inside a heart on your favourite tree only to come back later to mutilate the inscription into an unrecognizable scar? If you have, you’ve already partaken in a form of graffiti, street art, vandalism, or whatever you want to call the unauthorized marking or ‘tagging’ of a public structure. While artists like Banksy and Basquiat have spray-painted their way into creating a new form of modern art, others have taken the act of graffiti to levels beyond territorial or political statements. Mandy Moore and Leann Praine are the authors of the newly released book Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti. Yarn bombing is the “act of wrapping something [knitted] around a pole. It could be a knitted bunny on a hillside, a pair of knitted shoes on a wire, it could be a knitted picture frame.”
It’s a form of graffiti that appeals to mostly women, but involves all age groups and both genders. It is the newest form of street art, popping up in cities and towns all over the world as a new phenomenon among knitting enthusiasts.
Other examples of “crocheti” include little monster feet knitted around telephone poles, crocheted replicas of street signs, and even objects as large as buses entirely coated in knitted patterns.
Anyone can do it, and it sure as hell is a lot easier than spray-painting a masterpiece in the middle of the night. Mandy Moore shared some tips at the book launch held September 19. “Your first little crappy piece of knitting, you can just sew around a sign post, there’s nothing more to it”. As well, she advocates Flickr for sharing work. Most groups post their work on blogs, because actually finding a yarn bomb in the city is quite rare, as pieces come down as quickly as they go up. One blog to check out is run by the original pioneers of yarn bombing out of Texas, called Knitta, Please.
If you have the urge to get up in the city of Van’s grill with your knitting needles, all you have to do is learn how to knit, beautify a feature of the city with yarn, photograph it and upload it on the blog of your choice. And to think - all this time, your Grandma was so street.
If you would like to see a piece in real life, there is an instalment at Davie and Burrard that is slowly being added to. Visit it, or check out for info on the book.

Carling Grey

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