Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Knitted Wonderland

When I told my DH I was just leaving a yarn bombing over at the Blanton Art Museum he asked if anyone had been killed, fortunately not! But besides getting to attend my first yarn bombing I also got to meet it's leader, textile artist and renown yarn bomber Magda Sayeg of Knitta Please.

Rather than paraphrase, meet Magda, in her own words, from her website,

"Magda Sayeg, founder of Knitta Please, began by taking knitting out of the home and into the streets. The simple juxtaposition of this woven material placed within an urban environment has inspired a new generation of knitters who no longer view function as the sole purpose for knitting. This new approach to knitting questions the assumptions of a traditional craft while adding a previously unused material to the world of street art.

When Magda Sayeg began Knittaplease in 2005, it was her response to the dehumanizing qualities of an urban environment. By inserting handmade art in a landscape of concrete and steel, she adds a human quality that otherwise rarely exists. Knittaplease represents the present energy coming from knitting and more extensively weaving, while giving a nod to its powerful history. Her work has been recognized for its influence in street art as well as the craft of knitting. Magda Sayeg is based in Austin, Texas."

Magda is credited with beginning the yarn bombing movement, she started in Houston back in 2005, and I've been following her work ever since. She's progressed from random bombings, nation wide, to now organizing and creating yarn bombing art installations involving 100s of knitters Internationally. Right before this project at the Blanton she teamed up with Guerilla Suit to co bombed Austin's W Hotel in tribute to our local rock legend Willie Nelson!

This time in conjunction with Explore UT and local Austinite Knitters, Magda turned the trees at The Blanton’s Faulkner Plaza into this Knitted Wonderland! In this site-specific installation Magda orchestrated the trunks of all 99 trees in between the museum’s Michener and Smith buildings to be covered with colorful yarn knit & crocheted into swatches by over 170 local volunteer knitters. In other words, Yarn Bombing made into Art.

Magda Sayeg
I got to meet Magda and when I asked her to pick a tree to pose in front of she told me that was like having to pick your favorite child!

The scene was pretty awesome to walk up to, yarn everywhere, examples of all sorts of knit & crochet stitches, in other words a fiber lovers paradise!

Right away I ran into Alicia, a regular at Rio Rita's Arts & Crafts night. She was installing the official "Arts & Craft's" tree which was the work of 9 different fiber artists including our very own Rachel aka Knittybang!

I was also there searching for one of my local Austin customers, Marla who had Tree 59, Marla am standing in front of the correct tree?

It was great to see so many knitters assembled for one cause!

In this photo standing is Rebecca, the actual knitter, kneeling is her helper Carl and on the ladder sewing is her helper Jennifer.

Jennifer prefers to be known as the "Needle Tree Monkey!"

I also ran into Sally, who's tree was a family affair. She worked on this panel with her sister, right and their mom, not pictured and their helper (Sally's sister's boyfriend). Sally did the panels with the lovely cables.

This is Sharon and her work of art, Tree 33. And she's being assisted by one of the dedicated Blanton Art Museum staff.

Here Shanti, the actual knitter, poses with her helper!

As you can see he was a big help!

Original Sin? Can you make out this knit snake slithering around this tree?

As you can tell Magda had the knitters & crocheters use the same brand of yarn and colors, but thanks to their imaginations each tree is a work of art.

Look close and you can see this tree was worked in Fair Isle!

This installation will be on display until March 18th, I hope you get a chance to visit.


Brenda Whitehead said...

Hey Sandy! Didn't know you were back! Awesome article - wow that's a lot of knit-wearin' trees!

marlat1112 said...

Hi Sandy...sorry I missed you...check out my blog tomorrow for my pics...It was incredible!

kim sofia said...

so very cool!!!

callmeserenity said...

Wow! So neat! I'm so glad you posted pictures and shared this event. I'm trying to get a yarn bombing project off the ground here in Buffalo, and this is great inspiration (though I don't think we could go quite that crazy, yet.) Thanks!


Carolyn said...

It was awesome to participate in this venture - will be sad to take it down but I will have it up in my yard - I have a dead tree that will not object to a sweater at all!

It was great seeing you in San Marcos - one of these days Joanna and I will need to come see you!