The art of ‘yarn bombing’

Aug. 27, 2014 @ 02:00 PM

In March 2011 the Durham-based Off the Hook Crochet Guild “yarn bombed” Major the Bull, the sculpture in CCB Plaza downtown. The volunteer organization wrapped the city symbol with several panels made of brightly colored yarn.

Yarn bombing, sometimes called urban knitting, is an art form in which visual artists knit over benches, sculptures, buildings and other elements in public spaces.
Those who want to learn more about yarn bombing, or who might someday want to participate in a project, can attend visual artist Linette Knight’s talk and demonstration Thursday at the Durham County Library. Knight will discuss the history of the art form, and then will give a demonstration of yarn bombing.
Knight had been knitting for about four years when she discovered yarn bombing. She helped her husband, a graffiti artist, with his work. While helping with her husband’s art work, “I wanted to find a way to express myself but also be environmentally conscious, a better way of doing [graffiti] art without damaging buildings” or releasing chemicals into the atmosphere, she said.
She did some online searching and discovered the work of Polish born New York fiber artist Olek (born Agata Oleksiak). Olek’s many projects include knitting the bull sculpture on Wall Street, and knitting around a sculpture of Albert Einstein in Washington, D.C. “That inspired me to give it a try. That was a way to bring some color to our city and brighten things up a little bit,” Knight said.
Knight got a chance to work with Olek in 2012, when she knitted Flanders Gallery in Raleigh as part of a show titled “Make Ends Meet.” Knight volunteered and helped with that installation. Since then, she has done some yarn installations for businesses in downtown Raleigh.
Claudia Aleman Toomes, a reference librarian with Durham County Library, knows Knight and knew about her art work and “wanted her to be introduced to the Durham community.” She has seen Knight’s yarn work in Raleigh and was intrigued by its vibrant colors and the texture of the yarn.
Knight said knitting has helped her to cope with arthritis, and she wants her talk and demonstration “to show people there is a way to meditate through that” and create something beautiful as well. “What I’m looking for is to inspire all walks of life, from young to old, to revitalize an art form that has been here for years.”

Go and DO

WHAT: “Yarn bombing” talk and demonstration
WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday
WHERE: Durham County Main Library, 300 N. Roxboro St.
ADMISSION: Free and open to the public