100%Attitude Issue 1 February 2014 - Page 23

Bombs Away If you’ve been eagle-eyed in Salisbury for the past two summers, you may have noticed that things in Salisbury have got a bit, well, woollier. Lamp posts, bike racks, statues, railings, flag poles, benches and trees have acquired knitted and crocheted items; some have been wrapped in ‘cosies’, while others have full scale art projects attached to them. What the hell is this all about? It’s called Yarnbombing (sometimes called yarnstorming, graffiti knitting or guerrilla knitting), and it’s a community street art phenomenon that has been sweeping the world for at least the past ten years. Yarnbombing is the decorating of free standing objects in public places, such as street furniture, with yarn; items knitted, crocheted and woven, by members of the local community. Yarnbombers have different agendas, but most seek to draw attention to public places that need some love, make social commentary or just generally cheer the place up. Although yarnbombs are by their nature non-permanent and non-destructive, the practice is technically illegal – it’s classified as littering – but it’s rarely prosecuted. The origins of yarnbombing are unclear, but examples have been recorded as early as 2004 in the Netherlands, and 2005 in the USA. The start of this movement has been attributed to Magda Sayeg from Texas. Then Lauren O’Farrell founded London collective Knit The City, and shifted the movement on from ‘cosies’ to themed or narrative knitted installations in 2009. In 2012, Salisbury formed its first yarnbombing group in a pub after a few people had expressed an interest in yarnbombing on Facebook.