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Street Art

Urban Knitting – A plushy protest

by Maria Walter (ACD Program Coordinator)


Street Art – People often love it or hate it. Some see it as the most modern form of art, others a crime. Street Art is usually loud, provocative, underground and mostly created by a subculture with special motivation, often with a political message. Most Street Art artists work with a motto of “Reclaim the street” to give street artists a determining influence on how the urban space should look and be like.

For  a couple years now, there is a new, quiet, plushy Street Art Scene – Urban Knitting.  Starting inNew York, some artists and students have decided to embellish their city. But not with the usual paint, but with old fashioned patterns, color and craft. Urban Knitting is meant to be a beautiful contrast to the usual urban design without destroying the original building or objects.

One, possibly  the first, urban knitter was Magda Sayeg fromTexas,USA.   She started to knit for the urban space because she was bored by how the street was looked.   After a construction site was left behind the space looked grey and ugly so Magda Sayeg decided to make the area more colorful – and many groups followed her example.

When some artists started in2005 acommunity called “Knitta Please” inNew York City, their first projects were knitted door handles.  Their intention was the same like Sayeg’s one – they had too much yarn and wanted to do something for common space.  They also made sweet coatings for signs, houses and trees. They justify their passion for knitting things for urban objects with the dissatisfaction that they were not able to finish the usual knitting projects, like shirts, socks and scarves.  This wave of Street Art is even spreading out  every big city, especially inEurope, has experienced the knitting wave. These movements are now overtaken by students and creative folks.

In a legal way, urban knitters need to be treated like all other street art artist like graffiti artists, because they put up their own things to change the urban space. Although urban knitting is kind of a silent protest, knitting artists see their work as knitted graffiti and at least as loud and provocative as “real” graffiti. To make sure urban knitting is not just a beautiful hobby but has a serious background the guerilla knitters place their works really visible in the city. A German Newspaper said about the yarn bombers the following: “a tag crew of knitters, bombing the inner city with vibrant, stitched works of art, wrapped around everything from beer bottles on easy nights to public monuments and utility poles on more ambitious outings”.


About icdblogsphereteam

We are the Blogsphere Team of the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy. We are the interactive part of the web resources of ICD. We spread culture and mutual understanding among cultures through blogs.


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The London Art as Cultural Diplomacy ConferenceAugust 21st, 2013


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