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Yarn Bombing; is it Explosive or a Dud? Part II: Magda Sayeg

Who are these mysterious Yarn Bombers, and are there enough to both quench the thirst of our Yarn Bombing consumers and to keep the knittfitti going? Through my research I’ve discovered that there are many Yarn Bombers, some known and getting press, and others who post their conquests in blogs or on a Facebook page. I interviewed four Yarn Bombers to help get some insight to what these people are doing and where they believe Yarn Bombing will be headed in the next few years.

Picture By Magda Sayeg

I’ll start with the founder, Magda Sayeg started off with a group called Knitta Please in 2005, which as mentioned before was originally a sort of joke and social experiment to see how people would react to knit pieces out in public. The group contained between four and twelve people through its life and when it was disbanded, in 2007, Magda continued doing solo projects. However, even Yarn Bombing artists need help sometimes and Magda isn’t afraid to ask for volunteers to aid her in some of her bigger projects. Magda’s assistant, Karen McClellan, informed me that 177 showed up for a meeting in January for a community project in Austin and that they often receive emails from enthusiastic people asking if they can help with projects.

 

Picture by Cesar Ortega

While Magda is working on bigger and more complicated projects others are taking note and noticing Yarn Bombing, when asked what age group Yarn Bombing draws in the most I received the answer “I don’t really think its exclusive, it obviously draws kids because of the texture and color. Older generations are drawn to it because they remember their mothers or whoever knitting. But I think the 20s/30s/40s has to be our biggest fan group. There’s been a huge movement toward DIY and craft in the last few years, a new appreciation for handmade items.” This observation is good news for the future of Yarn Bombing, it shows that this sort of art is relatable and crosses the generation gap that other art forms do not. Yarn Bombing can be seen as appealing, colorful, and in your face, while also being soft and harmless in nature.

Picture by Insight 51

What does Magda see for the future of Yarn Bombing? She and her associates see this as only the beginning. “Magda is continuing to develop and evolve her work, and we only see the international movement getting stronger.” Karen McClellan says, “There are groups in every major city in the US and dozens of international cities.” This confidence from one of the leaders of the Yarn Bombing movement serves as a good sign of things to come in the Yarn Bombing world. With dedicated people and volunteers jumping at the chance to help out Magda seems to be proof that Knit Graffiti is still on the rise. Though, she is only one of many Yarn Bombers who shared her opinion with me.

Yarn Bombing; is it Explosive or a Dud? Part I: What is Yarn Bombing?

This past quarter I have been researching whether Yarn Bombing will grow in popularity or become a faint memory in the upcoming years. This question took me on a journey that would thrill and inspire me. The first question I must answer is what is Yarn Bombing. Magda Sayeg from Houston, Texas started this form of street art in 2005, originally it was a joke to see how pedestrians would react to knit works being put outside, but the trend took off. This original act of knit graffiti spurred a reaction that made people take notice; Tina Fey even mentioned it in an SNL skit. Now you can Google “Yarn Bombing” and thousands of results will come up including blogs, pictures and newspaper articles.

I created a survey to find out if people actually know about the street art phenomena called Yarn Bombing and found that fifty-six percent of those who took the survey had not even heard of Yarn Bombing before. Most people deduced that Yarn Bombing has to do with yarn but a lot of people brought violent connotations to their perceived definitions. Once people were given the true definition of Yarn Bombing, (A form of street art where people take knit or crocheted materials and place them in public areas. Common places for Yarn Bomb tags are sign poles, bike racks, benches, railings and statues.), they not only thought of it as more interesting but also as something they would like to see.

This absence of prior knowledge about what Yarn Bombing is very important to the question “Will Yarn Bombing grow in popularity or become a faint memory?”. A lack of knowledge on the topic means that there is still a large market to tap and inform, but it also means that if people are not informed faster than they lose interest the art will be forgotten. The survey I created had promising results in category; while many had never heard of Yarn Bombing there was a large interest in actually seeing knit pieces up and in their neighborhoods. Most of the people who reacted positively to the aspect of knit graffiti also said they had no interest in actually becoming a Yarn Bomber. This means that while people are still learning about Yarn Bombing they mostly will become consumers and not producers of street art. This is true in most art forms, suggesting that there are consumers out there, but are there producers?

Survey for Non-Yarn Bombers

Non-Yarn Bombers

1) Gender?

2) Age?

3) Location?

4) How did you find out about Yarn Bombing and when?

5) What was your first impression of Yarn Bombing?

6) Have you seen Yarn Bombing in person?

7) Do you Knit or Crochet?

8 ) Do you intend to start Yarn Bombing? Why or why not?

9) Do you think that Yarn Bombing will grow or fall in popularity?

10) Have you told others about Yarn Bombing?

11) Do you know anyone who Yarn Bombs?

12) Do you read or follow and Yarn Bombing media sources like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, or anything else?

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