Modern Knitting….a new spin on an old craft!

Posts tagged ‘Streetcolor’

Yarn Bombing; is it Explosive or a Dud? Part V Streetcolor

Streetcolor was in a bookstore one day when she found Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti, after reading through the whole book she decided to join the Yarn Bombing movement. Streetcolor started small and then ended up blogging not too long after she started Yarn Bombing. She was shocked at how easy it was to start and keep up a blog about her work and because she is a professional artist she decided that she’d turn Yarn Bombing into an art form.  She is based in Berkeley, CA and has received a lot of attention from the media there. After covering the streets of Berkeley she decided to branch out and has been traveling farther and farther from her home and community to spread the joy that comes with seeing these knit pieces.

Streetcolor mentioned to me a sense of danger and excitement that comes with Yarn Bombing that she felt when she began Yarn Bombing and now feels when she branches out of her usual spots. This adrenaline rush can be a common for yarn bombers and while a lot of law enforcement does not give yarn bombers trouble many do not know how to react to and this could result in a ticket or many more questions.  Her rules keep her from doing anything too crazy. She doesn’t want her pieces to create controversy so she never covers statues, and tries to pick spots where she won’t have to take her art down.

Streetcolor is hoping to receive more commissioned work, which Magda Sayeg does frequently and which seems to be the next step for many Yarn Bombers. Getting paid for your work seems to mean that you’re rising in the art world and this may reflect on Yarn Bombing’s role in the art world. Streetcolor says that there is a part of having work commissioned that takes the fun out of it, having to create what you are asked to, dealing with permits, and figuring out how much to charge, it makes things more stressful. But with the new commissions she makes sure she still does work for fun and her work has been paying off. Not too long ago she was included in an NPR special on knitting and continues to have stories published about her work.

Streetcolor’s view on the timelessness or timeliness of Yarn Bombing is that it is still in its beginning phase and that more people are going to start getting involved. “Right now there are a lot of internet fads that come and go,” Streetcolor said, “but graffiti and knitting have been around for thousands of years.” She also believes that the DIY movement will also help encourage more people to pick up knitting needles and get involved. This outlook on the future of Yarn Bombing seems promising and all of the Yarn Bombers that I interviewed seemed to agree that Yarn bombing is still growing much faster than it’s being forgotten.

 

Interview with Streetcolor

Interview with Streetcolor

I interviewed Streetcolor, Yarn Bomber from Berkeley, CA. I noticed  immediately that she was engaging and I was thankful that she picked up on my nonverbal cues that I was rushing back to my office as fast as I could to grab pen, paper and settle in for an interview.  Once I was settled I began my line of questioning in what I felt was a relaxed interviewing session.

Streetcolor has always been an artist and it’s no surprise that after seeing “Yarn Bombing” at the bookstore she was immediately drawn to the idea of spreading knit art around her community. Three days into Yarn Bombing she started up a blog, which Streetcolor says “was surprisingly easy.” Since that first post in June of 2010 she has been picking up steam and what once started as a curiosity and hobby became  an everyday art project.

Streetcolor's Yarn Bombing in front of San Jose Museum of Art

Starting out, Streetcolor decided that her rule was that she would not put her work up where it would be taken down or create controversy, this was to avoid problems with the authorities, allow her art to last in public places, and to avoid having to painstakingly take them down.  With this rule in place she started making pieces to hang up around Berkeley and soon found out that instead of just starting a project it was much simpler to plan out her patterns and colors, especially since she hand spins her yarn.  Sometimes the planning is influenced by the places she’d like to put her Yarn Bombing, other times she creates works based off of fashion, textiles, glasswork, or sculptures. She also expressed a tendency towards ruffles to add more dimension to her work.

Now, doing Yarn bombing full time, she’ll have many pieces ready to go that she totes with her ready to sew up when she finds the right place. You’ll know her work by the woven labels directing you to her blog. These labels, which where once paper and would be taken or ruined, give this artist a calling card and many people keep calling. Now, in the streets people will call out “Streetcolor!” and it’s gotten to the point that when someone actually knows Streetcolor’s secret identity and calls her by it she’s surprised. While many people have expressed an interest in joining Streetcolor or collaborating, she prefers to work as a single artist. She however has let on an assistant, The Russian, who is mentioned in many of her blog posts.

A piece with Streetcolor's label

While you can find plenty of Streetcolor’s work around Berkeley, CA, she’s been branching out farther and farther from her beloved cafes and bakeries in her area. Moving out to tag art museums and reclaim the some of the feeling of danger and adventure that she felt first starting off in Berkeley.  She doesn’t worry about the museums or people, they usually like her pieces, but the security guards don’t always know how to react and the confusion could cause a ticket or the removal of a valued art piece. The branching out isn’t the only thing new for Streetcolor she also has been receiving requests for commissioned pieces which will help her make a name for herself as a Yarn Bombing artist outside Berkeley.

We spoke about Yarn Bombing as a whole she feels that this is only the beginning. There is an attraction for both the younger and older generations, the younger ones think that its “funny and cool and like graffiti” the older ones are “delighted to see it done” and relate to it.  This closing of the generation gap is caused by the merging of two very old arts, graffiti and knitting, these art forms which have been around and adapted to society through time to finally be merged.  Not only is this appropriate for all ages but it is also egged on by the DIY movement and furthered by books like “Yarn Bombing” and the countless blogs people create.  Streetcolor states that, “things are now being democratized anyone can write, make a movie and make art. Now anyone can knit and put it out there.”

Streetcolor's tagged bike rack

From this interview I felt a great love of art and really learned from listening about her experiences. If there are more Yarn Bombers with as much spark and drive as Streetcolor, which I’m sure there are, Yarn Bombing won’t die down anytime soon. It seems to be an art in it’s infancy and it will be extremely exciting to see where the excitement takes this art in the future.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.