Yarn bombing fiber graffiti movement

By Angela Le Quieu, Guest Reporter
They attack benches, trees, or an occasional wall; it’s called yarn bombing and it is a popular form of installation art that has been spreading all over the country and Albuquerque neighborhoods, said art instructor Julianne Harvey-Newlands.
Not only can this so called fiber graffiti be found in the UNM and Nob Hill neighbor¬hoods, but it can also be found right on campus thanks to the curriculum for the class Art Practices II, which has yarn bombing as one of the projects instructors can use for their classes, said Harvey-Newlands.
“This is a real popular method of doing art instillation across the country, probably across the world, so we took what we saw and we embellished and we went in our own direction,” said Harvey-Newlands.
Harvey-Newlands said that most yarn bombs involve knitting, crocheting, or wrapping an object in yarn usually a tree or a bike rack such as can be seen throughout the Nobhill neighborhood.
At the end of the spring semester one of Harvey- Newlands’ art classes took over a fence outside of the JS building on Main campus with the classes own take on this trending form of art installation.
Instead of wrapping the fence in a knitted cozy, the class took a mural type idea and turned it into a yarn explosion using knitting, crochet, and wrapping to create an underwater scene.
The class focused on the elements of change and motivation in art, which used the project to explore the idea of changing the environment that one is in, and took their motivation for the project from the water issues that are a constant problem in New Mexico, she said.
“This group brings to the table so many different strengths in the arts— there are so many people working with sculpture, with painting, and with printmaking that we tried to take a lot of those practices to the composition,” Harvey-Newlands said.
Fine Arts major and project participant, Kii Lowe had never worked with yarn before and was not sure how the com¬position would turn out, but having seen the piece come together he liked the final out-come, he said.
“It’s nothing like everyone was thinking it was going to be. I like it— it’s really colorful and it’s got a lot of other aspects to it,” said Lowe.
Although Lowe said he never really got the knit¬ting part down, he did contribute to some of the sculptural elements of fish and sharks, including a cage where fish were trapped by a circling shark.
Fine Arts major Sarah Gamoke said that this was her first experience doing fiber art as well, but that someone taught her how to crochet, and though it may not be an art form that she embraces in the future, and that it was a good experience overall.
“I really enjoyed it and as usual art takes you on this adventure you never know what’s going to happen in the end,” Gamoke said.
Before this project Gamoke had never heard of yarn bombing, but her and her classmates did research on it and she enjoyed learning aspects of it, such as how it is impermanent and does not harm anything, she said.
One of the aspects of yarn bombing that can have appeal for artists is the ease in which a yarn bomb can be removed, so even though it can be considered a form of graffiti and illegal in some places, yarn bombs generally leaves no real permanent damage to areas that have been yarn bombed.
The project from Harvey-Newlands’ class was only up for a week from installation on Monday, March 21 until the following Monday, on March 28, but she said that she was glad to be able to do it when they did, because there was no rain in the forecast that week to drench their work.
There are no Art Practices II courses scheduled for the summer term but students can keep an eye out for more campus yarn bombing projects in the fall.
For those who cannot wait for fall, the fourth annual International Yarn Bombing day is scheduled for Saturday, June 7, according to knitting website loomahat.com.

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