Sunday, June 10, 2012
International Yarn Bombing Day
If you aren't familiar with yarn bombing, its a mash-up of traditional "feminine" craft techniques, knitting and crocheting, with street art or graffiti and so installed in public spaces, most often without permission or authorization. I've done this kind of work since I was a child - I learned it from my mother who learned from her mother... - putting it to more conventional applications, sweaters and scarves and the like. I've been intrigued by yarn bombing for a while, but I've had a hard time getting into doing it myself because I've been hanging on to some of the expectations about this type of work that bombing is meant to subvert. I've wanted a pattern to follow. To make measurements and check my gauge to make sure it will turn out just right. And I've still felt that the investment of time this type of hand working takes makes the end products too precious to abandon to the city. In fact I think "preciousness" is probably the right word for all of these expectations.
With a little encouragement from Leesa, though, I decided to take some scrap yarn and my favorite crochet hook with me to Paris - my ergonomic one with a ball at the end that rests in your palm. Then I saw these posts running along my street and for some reason wanted to reach out and grab the little balls on their ends, to feel their shapes in my hand . That's where I got the idea for these little toppers. I like the combination of hard and soft. Of process and result. Of repetition and difference - each of the toppers is a bit different in color, size, and shape. There are seven in total, one for each day that I had been in Paris before they went up. I put them up very early Saturday morning, when no one was around but a woman walking her dog. I photographed them a little later in the day as I started a long walk along the banks of the Seine that ended at the Marché Maubert (strawberries, zucchini, heirloom tomatoes, mushrooms, chives, some hummus and roasted peppers, a fresh goat cheese, and bread). I've been checking on them out the window and whenever I go out or come back.
As I've written about here before, I experience that otherness most strongly with sculptures, its what I really like about sculpture as a medium, its the way I think sculptures are most like people and have something to teach us about people and relationships with people. In this experience, I found something exciting, something freeing, about the absolute unimportance to most people of what I had done here. It means that I can do - whatever I want, more or less, and the world is not going to come crashing to a halt.