Sunday, 12 June 2011

International Yarn Bombing Day 11th June: Yarn Graffiti in Chamonix Mont Blanc

I'm generally not one for breaking the rules...  I get a sweat on just driving the wrong way down a lane in the carpark; and so agreeing to add some yarn graffiti to a piece of public property might be classed as a little out of character for me!

I have been following the slightly crazy world of Yarn Bombing for about a year now - if you have no idea what I'm talking about, just try Google-ing (is that officially a verb now?) yarn bombing or yarn graffiti and then look at the images tab. Cool huh?

In a nutshell, Yarn Bombing is a growing pastime whereby knitters and crocheters add some kind of yarn creation to public property.. a statue, a road sign, a park bench etc. Sometimes it is done in broad daylight, sometimes they leave their name and sometimes it is a stealth and mysterious, under-the-cover-of-darkness operation. Yarn Bombers can be individuals making a statement or groups of stitchers sharing some colourful yarn love with the world. However it's done, it's done for fun

Vintage and modern  Ete / Hiver posters for Chamonix by Henry Reb and Charlie Adam

2011 was the first official year for International Yarn Bombing Day - 11th June - and I was keen to get involved, in fact I began scouring the town for possible sites awhile back. Inspiration struck at the 11th hour though which didn't leave me long to plan my attack. I decided to create a frame around the Chamonix Mont Blanc road sign in the style of the tourist posters which promote the town for both summer and winter activities. Snowflakes on the upper right corner and flowers on the bottom left

This was a perfect opportunity to encourage my Get Hooked! crochet workshop students to try their hand at these motifs and practice working in the round, changing colour and using a variety of stitches. They did me proud! (thanks girls!) And although most were unable to join me to crochet on the day, they did pop along for support which was hugely appreciated.

And so with a bag of yarn, a few tasty snacks and my rain mac (the weather was so ominous all day!) I set up camp down by the lake and set to work making the frame from which to support the flower and snowflake motifs... all 4 metres of it! I managed 3 metres in the couple of hours we were there and collected a bunch of brightly crocheted flowers from the girls. The rest would have to be assembled at home.... it was wine-o'clock on a bank holiday weekend afterall!

I set out on a dawn raid alone this morning (with my trusty, if a little sleepy, photographer of course!) and teetered on a wobbly step ladder to fix the work in place. It took about 45mins but thankfully with minimal furtive glances from the passers by (actually I think they may have been more distracted by the photographer on crutches... an excellent ploy should ever you require a decoy for your yarn bombing activity by the way!)

 I'm pleased with the overall effect but could certainly do with a better/less easy to remove method of application for the framework. Anyway, I hope it brings a smile to the face of all who see it on their way into Chamonix town - locals and tourists alike. I hope it features in people's holiday photos, gets posted on Google Maps and most of all reflects the joy of creating something with an age old skill and totally by hand. I wonder how long it will remain in place?

So how do I feel after my first foray into the furtive world of yarn bombing? I will certainly be planning more - but they will be a little more Andy Goldsworthy than Banksy in terms of approach. And do I feel like a crochet guerrilla? hmmm, possibly more like a cheeky monkey!

You can learn more about Yarn Bombing on the blogFacebook page and Flickr Gallery or join the group on Ravelry

Enjoy the yarn love! And you can view the entire event in photos on my Get Smitten Flickr Gallery

Lisa x

{photos by the remarkably patient and rather handsome Jeremy Wilson}

p.s If you are reading this via email subscription and cannot see any images or the slideshow, please come on over to the actual blog, it's worth a peek! Thanks x

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