Friday, 19 May 2017

Urban Knitting

Urban Knitting or Yarn Bombing is a relatively new phenomenon which consists of the art of decorating public spaces with items made of thread or wool, as Leanne Prain defines it.

The origin of this art is quite confusing as some sources say that is coming from Europe, from Holland in 2004 while others mention its origin in US when Magda Sayeg decorated her shop door handle with a knitted cover to complaint about the ugliness of her city, Houston, in 2005. This origin can be from many other places, as there are few more other examples, but all dating from the beginning of 21st century.

Deadly Knitshade, a Londoner street artist, went a step ahead when she started to tell a story when decorating the city with her creations in 2009.

Nowadays, from Canada to Chile, from United Kingdom to Dubai, colour explosions appear everywhere, form very famous places with millions of tourist per year to remote non touristic places nearly forgotten by people.
Urban Knitting can be something as simple as a knitted square surrounding a tree or as complicated as a piece of knitted cover to use with a bicycle, car or even a bus. For example, in Murcia (Spain) a sculpture in the centric Flower’s Square was “dressed” with a hat and some flowers, something very simple whereas in the other extreme we can see the Craft and Folk Museum in Los Angeles covered with hundreds of grannies.

Sculpture in Murcia with simple hat and flowers and Granny Squares Project finally covered the Craft and Folk Museum (Los Angeles) with small colourful squares.

The name given to that art suggests that in addition of being an art it is also a way of social and political discomfort. It is remarkable that even when Urban Knitting is performed as social discomfort it is done in a very pacific way. It is really a very peaceful way to attract the attention about something that the society wants to change. An example of that was shown in Bilbao (Spain) when people against bull fighting “dressed” a bull sculpture with a colourful knitted cover.

Bull decorated in Bilbao (Spain) against bull fighting.

Art or social tool, this way of expression has become extremely popular to the point that you can find it in any corner of your city or town. In High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire (UK) this art has been used to promote Wycombe Fringe Event, a festival taking place during May and June 2017. High Street bollards have been decorated with nice knitted designs as part of mentioned festival.

High Street bollards in High Wycombe.

Is the Urban Knitting an art or a social way of attracting politician’s attention? Let me know your opinion on this, all comments are welcome.

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