Under Wraps

Yarn storming, or the practice of covering the urban environment with removable knitted bits, has recently been spotted in Waterloo Region, with unknown enthusiasts “cosying” everything from a stop sign to a bicycle rack.

A Stop sign yarn stormed, spotted by RQ Magazine

A Stop sign yarn stormed, spotted by RQ Magazine

Urban yarn storming is not new. In 2008 a huge contingent of knitters took to Covent Garden in London, and West Cape May, New Jersey continues their search for the anonomous Midnight Knitter who covers tree branches with his colorful creations.

Knitting´s rebirth as mainstream activity and consequent reimergence in the textile arts may have something to do with the yarn storming appearances. Sue Sturdy, notable knitter and Cambridge’s artist-in-residence will cover the city’s main street bridge with knitted panels donated from over 1,000 people starting September 9th. Once completed, the temporary work will be the largest piece of public art in the city.

Janet Morton, a Toronto based artist and former KW|AG exhibitor (2008-Better Homes and Gardens), shares Sturdy’s interest in wrapping the inanimate, and has cosied everything from trees to houses that she previously resided in.

Cosy by Janet Morton

Cosy, by Janet Morton. 1999. made from 800-plus second hand sweaters, hand knit architectural details, 250 plastic buttons, Velcro, cotton lining

So where does this seemingly wide spread obsession with wrapping things with yarn come from? Why has yarn storming made the transition from art to guerilla style interventions, or is it the other way around? Is it a way of personalizing a sterile or impersonal environment or the new it version of graffiti?

Grab some yarn and find out for yourself.

- Kirstie Paterson, Gallery Staff

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About The Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery

The Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery exists in real space in Kitchener, Ontario. Featuring contemporary work, the Gallery provides opportunities to connect with art through public programs, classes and exhibitions. Admission is free.
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One Response to Under Wraps

  1. Anne Lukin says:

    I’m working to complete my 3rd piece to contribute to the Cambridge bridge-wrapping. I’ve just learned to knit this year, so it’s great as a novice knitter to have a focus and a ready-made community. As a life-long perfectionist, I put off learning to knit as I knew I would hate being bad at it. Somehow this year I am open to producing lumpy dishcloths and being patient with myself while I get better. Maybe it’s easing into my fifties that has made the change. Anyway, I’m going to the opening on Sept 11th and hoping to locate my three hole-y imperfect pieces, so that I can wave proudly to them.

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