Yes, the town of Exeter is preparing for a massive bombing this Monday- a yarnbombing, that it is. Don’t worry, it’s all for a good cause. Local businesses have sponsored graffiti knit and crochet installations throughout the Exeter region to the tune of $3,000 to benefit Womenade of Greater Squamscott , a local organization providing short- term financial assistance to those in need.
If you are not yet familiar with yarn bombing, it is a movement that goes by several names: yarnbombing, yarnstorming, guerrilla knitting, urban knitting or graffiti knitting. All these terms refer to knitted or crocheted street art or graffiti, things like cozies for trees, clothed statues, sweatered vehicles and adorned bike racks. Initially the movement was about humanizing cold, public spaces, but has since developed into a worldwide phenomenom, with different groups offering various motivations. So where did it all start? Here’s a short history:
2005: Magda Sayeg covers the door handle of her boutique, Raye, in Houston, Texas with a custom made cozy. A short while after, Magda forms Knitta, a knit graffiti group credited with spawning the international yarn bombing movement.
2008: Nancy Mellon and Corine Bayraktaroglu, aka the Ja-Fa-Girls, create The Knit Knot Tree in Yellow Spring, Ohio.
2009: Lauren O’Farrell, whose guerilla knitting name is Deadly Knitshade, teams up with fellow guerrilla knitters in London, England to form the Knit the City collective. Their “Web of Woe” installation is the first piece to use public yarn bombing (or yarn storming- the term the group prefers) to create a story or narrative.
2009: Twilight Taggers, aka fibre artist Bali, began yarn bombing Melbourne, Australia.
2009: Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti by Leanne Prain and Mandy Moore is published By Arsenal Press.
2011: The Collected Thread store yarn bombs the Plaza District of Oklahoma City on September 9, 2011 to celebrate their three-year anniversary as a functioning shop.
2011: Twilight Taggers finds the Yarn Corner, an active yarn bombing group in Melbourne, Australia.
2011: Joann Matvichuk of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada founded International Yarnbombing Day, which was first observed on June 11, 2011.
2012: Second Annual International Yarnbombing Day is celebrated on June 9, 2012.
2013: Third Annual International Yarnbombing Day is scheduled for June 8, 2013