No, the authorities need not be alerted. By “bombed” I mean yarnbombed.
But it got your attention didn’t it?
In honor of FiberPhiladelphia 2012, local fiber artists have given City Hall’s interior a cozier feel, adorning the northeast corridor with a variety of knit and woven masterpieces in two separate exhibitions:
“Philadelphia Yarnbombing 101,” an installation and photography exhibit by Ishknits, Philadelphia’s Yarnbomber, a.k.a. Jessie Hemmons and fellow street artist Christina LeFevre; and “Meta-Fiber,” a group exhibition featuring works made from repurposed, recycled materials utilizing fiber techniques.
Both exhibits will open tonight with a reception from 5-7 p.m in the Art Gallery at City Hall (Room 116) as well as the first and second floor display cases.
Having bombed everything from a few bike racks and poles to seats on the EL and even the Rocky statue, you’ve likely seen Ishknits’ work at some point. However, this is a rare opportunity for you to actually see it indoors.
And if you think yarnbombing is a just a senseless—albeit unbelievably awesome and joyous—act of vandalism, think again.
Using a typically feminine craft to voice a message, replacing menacing images or text with vibrant colored yarn, Hemmons aims to not only challenge the way that graffiti is perceived, but to get people thinking about the role that gender plays in the world of street art.
As far as I’m concerned, every tree could use a sweater.
The bombing continues and this time they REALLY did it! Check it out for yourself on the northeast corner of Rittenhouse Square. We particularly enjoy the “Love You Philly” stitched into the center and the amazing use of various stitching patterns. Click here for more Philly yarnbomb sightings.
Someone has been busy knitting things for public places. I saw the first two wandering around yesterday (first one in Rittenhouse, second across from the Eastern State Penitentiary), the second two at 26th and Brown a couple weeks ago.
We did an interview with a couple of local yarnbombers a few weeks ago, if you’d like to read more.
Also spotted in one of my rare ventures into the light of day (btw, if a blogger feels sunshine on her face it means there won’t be six more weeks of winter, I believe it goes) was PHAG’s closing sale. They’re just going all-online, not out of business, but still bummer.
And across the street, this portrait of Michael Jackson, which was so stop-in-your-tracks bad that a friend and I ended up having a fairly long conversation about what it was trying to say with a similarly horrified stranger.
The first one I’d seen in Philly was in Rittenhouse this month (above), and we’ve put a gallery of knit graffiti around the world below, but first, we actually managed to get in touch with the yarnbomber who made the one above and probably made any others you’ve happened upon in Center City and asked her a few questions:
Where/when did you get started doing yarnbombing?
I first heard about yarnbombing when a friend of mine tossed me a link to a picture of a tree completely covered in yarn. i thought it was so beautiful. The tree branches were even wrapped- that takes some dedication. I started about two months ago, wrapping bike racks and parking meters. I also made little chains that i was wrapping around people’s bike locks.
How long do they usually last in a public place?
Some of them have been taken down, because they get kind of grimy after the city takes it toll on them. Others have been taken down immediately, like a handrail my friend and I wrapped at the subway entrance at 15th and Market and a scarf that we wrapped around Rocky. I wrapped another tree on third street in Old City last week. I went back two days later to take a picture and it was gone. That one was kind of a heartbreak, since it was the same size the tree in Rittenhouse.
How do you attach the cozy to the tree? At night?
To keep the cozies on i actually sew them with a yarn needle. The bigger pieces I try and wait until it’s dark. I think it’s a hard thing for people to decide, “is it art, or vandalism?”
I assume you also knit things not for public art, right?
I’ve actually been knitting for about two years. At the moment I mostly make accessories under the name iSH Knits, and I have a website www.ishknits.com. I’m currently consigned at Bambi in the Piazza and plan on pursuing more gallery positions once I finish my spring collection, but i always seem to get distracted by yarn bombing.
Have you done other yarnbombs in Philly?
I’d love to have a Philly crew so we could branch out of Center City and hit the farther reaches of town. Right now it’s just my friend and I, and her piece is wrapped on the lightpost in front of Oscars (15th and Sansom). I’m planning to have a big display soon at City Hall, which may or may not last.
Hey, Oscars is right down the street from Philly Weekly! Neat! She sent us pictures of the one in front of Oscar’s as well as a couple more places in the city. I felt it was prudent not to put her or her friend’s names or emails, but if you’re interested in yarnnbombing and want to get in touch, you can leave a comment here or at her ishknits page. And now, pictures!
Here’s the one outside Oscar’s…
…And here’s one on Walnut…
…And on Chestnut. Now here’s a few not by the people we talked to: