Wild-knitting is an embellishment of the urban landscape, otherwise boring, dreadful, cold and soul-less urban elements are cheered up by wrapping them in warm and colourful cosiness, pulling them out of anonymity. It makes us smile. it's often also combined with tongue-in-cheek humour which gives us a big smile. It makes us enjoy the city in a new way. As it says on the site of Yarnbombing; "Improving the urban landscape one stitch at a time". So contrary to original graffiti this is not aggressive or destroying the urban landscape. This is a protest led by "grannies" not by subversive 'gangs'. Though maybe the "grannies" also work in the shadow when they install the work?
|Wild-knitting in the center of Utrecht. Photography Inge Noordijk|
|Wild-knitting by Breiwerkwest at Westergasterrein, Amsterdam|
The urban interventions domesticates the urban landscape, it makes it more personal , it's claimed back by us, the inhabitants. Is this the awakening of a new sort of outdoor biedermeier?
|Urban lampshade, Amsterdam. Photography Jacomine van Veen|
Of course the Wildknitting exhibition in Artis helped create awareness about wild-knitting.
|Breiwerkwest dressing some cosiness on the dinosaur|
Stitching graffiti is a more recent variation, using empty fences as canvas. I first saw one of these at Bricklane in London.
|Lambrate, Milan during design-week|
|Zeedijk, Utrecht; "we live not according to reason, but according to fashion"|
So there is a kind of activism to wild-knitting and stitching graffiti; this has been coined craftivism, protest through craft. Protesting against a cold male world dominated by power, protesting with softness and warmth. Bringing issues to our attention. When it's not about cheering up the urban landscape craftivism can also be a protest against the fashion-system. Protesting against the never-ending production and consumption of shiny new things by making fashion ourselves, knitting our own clothes. In public to make it clear to the world that we are developing a different view on fashion and consumption.