My semester has ended, and I have big plans for the summer. Not big plans by most peoples standards, but plans enough to coincide with my projected 60 hour work weeks. I’m going to make it through the entirety of Infinite Jest (for real this time), crotchet a few scarves (assuming that next winter will be extra cold to compensate for the mild weather of this winter past), and yarn bomb the Boston Commons. This will be my first summer living in Boston, and I can’t think of a better way to christen my (newish) home city.
Yarn bombing is the graffiti of arts and crafts – crochet and knit graffiti. Bringing beauty to urban landscapes, yarn bombing varies from the ornate (bicycle cozies that physically attach the bike to street signs) to the simple (mix-matched yarns wrapping around railings). The community surrounding the public art has as much variety as the craft itself, including elderly women in knitting circles, hardcore yarn artists, and those individuals looking to occasionally brighten someone’s day. Not to discredit traditional means of graffiti art, but yarn bombing typically takes more forethought and planning. Measurements must be taken, yarn must be bought, and the majority of the knitting must be done in advance – after all, despite it’s charm, yarn bombing is a legitimate, illegal graffiti, and artists often slip out into the night and secure their pre-made work to public/private property without getting caught. The result however, is often forgivable, if not favored by some. Whereas traditional graffiti techniques have a bit more permanence and are often destructive, yarn bombing bears a cheery tenderness and easy removal. I know I can’t help but smile when I stumble upon a little, knit treasure.
Unfortunately, there is little I can tell you about the art. I don’t know who started it, where she (or he!) started it, or what her (or his!) intentions were in doing so. I do, however, know that yarn bombing is as adorable as it sounds, without a doubt challenging and time consuming, and certainly creative. It requires an interaction with the environment to a level beyond that of most public art movements. Of course, I don’t believe this means yarn bombing isn’t for everyone. If anything at all, it seems to be a community activity, often prompting large groups to work together and often inspiring more yarn bombs in response.
As a fairly unskilled crocheter, I have realistically low hopes for my own adventures into yarn bombing, but with a partner in mind and a few ideal locations scoped out, I’m thrilled at the opportunity to make Boston just a little more quaint. Be sure to check back in the coming weeks as I might just let you in on my adventures in yarn bombing!
by Rebecca Pollock