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Caroline Hagood

Caroline Hagood
Brooklyn, New York,
November 23
I'm a writer living in Brooklyn. My articles have appeared in various publications, including The Guardian, Salon, the Huffington Post, and The Economist. My first book of poems, Lunatic Speaks, is available from FutureCycle Press and my second poetry book, Making Maxine's Baby, is available from Hanging Loose Press:


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MAY 20, 2011 3:24PM

Yarn Bombing, the New Street Art Trend

Rate: 13 Flag

Photo Credit: Olek

When we think graffiti, we don’t usually think of our mothers and grandmothers, yet older women are taking to the streets, finding signs and statues, and tagging them…with yarn. This “grandma graffiti,” or “yarn bombing,” is an international DIY craft/street art phenomenon. These “knit crews” just keep popping up; in Denver, they’re the Ladies Fancywork Society; in Seattle, they’re the YarnCore Collective, “Hardcore Chicks With Sharp Sticks”; and don’t forget Masquerade who “yarnstorms” Stockholm. These ladies may look harmless, but watch out, they have needles.

How did this wooly trend begin? The yarnstorming bible, Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti, was penned in 2009 by the Vancouver-based Mandy Moore (no, not that one) and Leanne Prain; and Magda Sayeg, who founded Knitta Please (clearly adopting the street art idiom), is believed to be its founding mother.

With its blurring of the lines between what have traditionally been seen as the male and female, inside and outside, rural and urban spheres, this yarn art should certainly shake things up. However, whether this new fad will secure women a more sturdy place in the (art) world or become fodder for those who believe they should really be darning things remains to be seen. 

Not every woman is embracing the movement. New York artist Agata Oleksiak, or Olek, (who yarned the Wall Street bull statue, above) does not like to be associated with the guerilla knitters. She believes that the street is an extension of the gallery, and that some people’s work just doesn’t belong there. Perhaps because as a blogger I have more in common with the knit crews than I do with Ms. Oleksiak, I wholeheartedly disagree with that sentiment. For us bloggers and knitting bubbies, the street and Internet are DIY galleries that no Olek can take away from us. 

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Caroline, thanks for this interesting story! I wasn't aware of yarn bombing until reading your post and a couple of months ago when I was walking next to the bull it didn't have its colorful yarn cover, but I would have enjoyed seeing that in person!
Interesting phenomenon, Mlle Hagood, but I'm not sure what it says: are we turning the mean, scary sculpture into a tea cozy?
Funny thing, Caroline, I was going to do a post on this - I've got the pictures and all. In our little City is has been quite controversal when a group knit "socks" for (quite large) tree stumps. They change with the seasons. We've been through winter and now spring. They certainly are an attention getter and a conversation starter on "what is art?"
I've seen the Olek work and, like you, can't get on board with the idea that art should be limited by personal definitions and labels (knitters/artists, bloggers/writers).
What a cool concept . . . for whatever reason, I really like guerilla art.
Long live the knitting bubbies! Take Olek away!
That's really pretty amazing. I'd never heard of this until I read your post. I'm with you--let's hear it for the guerilla knitters!
I love quirky stuff like this. No yarn, no foul.
All that yarn has got to get yucky and soggy in the rain. Yarn does not seem suitable for street art. Maybe there are more weather-proof fibers.

I hate to think of a bronze bull, probably a beutiful sculpture, being hidden under Olek's tacky yarn job. I think it looks hideous. I think it would be fun to create nature sculpture graffiti in the city. I like the work of Andy Goldsworthy. I guess the matinance crews who would have to remove the art wouldn't be too happy about it.
designanator: it would certainly be a sight.

Monsieur: I think the tea cozy is certainly part of the aesthetic

Trilogy: I'd like to read your take on it

Bellwether: Exactly. It seems to restrictive

Owl: me, too!

Matt: Will do

Susan: I may even have to start my very own crew. Oh yeah, I don't know how to knit.

Linnn: No yarn, no foul.

Lucy: I think it does start to turn soggy and fray soon after its creation. That's part of its fleeting nature. Many of the artists capture it on film and get it up on the Internet.
That's a lot of yarn. How long does that take. Do they do it on site? Wow!
Caroline? Is this a piece of work that is depicting blogger/commenter `
Les H.?

Les H. Loves?
He has a capacity?
Les H. Loves hi image?
I was reading Les H.
I was booted last eve`gin.
That sure is nasty somebody.
I tried to comment @ Linnn etc.,
Kerry or somebody waggles butt.
Kerry smokes cigars with weed?

deja' ve over `gin. Remove tubes.
Take out ox`gin tubes and blow.
Blow up rubber duck in bath tub.

Riddle fiddle wiggle behind in parade.
Kerry manages OS masquerade party.
He wiggle-wonder in Manhattan bars.
Be nice?
Join garden club.
Thanks Carolyn.
Les H. Be kind.
No stomp flop.
No step in crap.
loved the story, loved your coverage of it, and I'm with you on the freedom of art space. Your writing, in my opinion, would qualify for the galleries though.
Oh my that is a wonderful work of art. Thanks so much glad I saw this.
Heard about it but hadn't seen it...thanks for the pic! There's a part of me that says "cool" to things like this, and another part that sighs, because I'm afraid it helps contribute to the marginality of self-expression/art/production and an overall lack of content in America. Clever, but...pointless...or is the point appreciating the act of hand making things in a new way?
I love this, I'm going to look up more about it. The above picture doesn't download at the moment but I clicked it and could see the bull. Fantastic concept, beyond concepts of vandalism and Christo with a feminine side!