Thursday Salute to Originals: Yarn Bombing
The fall season is just a few short weeks away, and you’re probably shopping around for the perfect knit hat and matching scarf to sport. It is common to see knit goods like hats, scarves, gloves, and socks lining the shelves in our favorite department stores, but what if you saw your city’s iconic statue covered in yarn? Crochet Artist Magda Sayeg takes the use of yarn as a medium to a whole new level with “yarn bombing”: using yarn rather than paint to create colorful, large and unique works of street art.
Sayeg was a pioneer of the yarn bombing movement, crocheting patterns of contrasting colors and shapes. She covered ordinary objects you see on the street in yarn, including stop signs, poles, cars, and trees. Sayeg recalls her movement beginning right around the time the “DIY” movement began 10 years ago, and she was called upon by companies like Etsy and Gap to create custom projects. Now, many other crochet artists are influenced by her work.
It takes Sayeg anywhere between 2 – 6 weeks to complete most of her projects. She at first worked alone, but as her movement gained momentum, she brought in a skilled team to help her complete her work. The colors and designs are planned out ahead of an installation, so the production is typically ready before the team arrives at a site.
For Sayeg, the yarn bombing movement is about more than just using yarn to create bold works of street art; it’s about breaking the association that the craft has with women and its domestic existence. Her goal is to show that knitting and crocheting do not have to be functional. They can be strong, renegade, and sometimes illegal. “Taking this craft that is female dominated onto the streets graffiti style, which is male dominated, is what is appealing (or not) about yarn bombing. As long as it evokes some emotion, I believe it is good,” Sayeg says.
This week, we salute Magda Sayeg and her yarn bombing movement for shattering the stigma of knitting and crocheting as it incorporates women and domestication. We salute her for challenging the limitations of her medium and finding harmony by placing these works of art in environments where they seemingly do not belong.