Yarn Bombing Los Angeles (YBLA) is a group of guerrilla knitters who have been collaborating since 2010. YBLA stages public installations and performances to help expand the definition of public art to embrace street art, including self-initiated, ephemeral urban interventions utilizing fiber material. Collaborative art making, community building, public outreach, blurring boundaries between contemporary art practices, graffiti and craft are integral components to YBLA’s practice.
The group organically grew out of a participatory yarn bombing event organized by the Arroyo Arts Collective in Los Angeles and became an entity of its own during the six month process of putting together Yarn Bombing 18th Street, an enterlacement of site specific installations featuring 65 local and international knit graffiti artists. YBLA projects range from the day long urban intervention outside MOCA’s seminal Art in the Streets show to conducting knit graffiti workshops for LAUSD teachers, students and their parents.
Yarn bombing is a relatively recent form of street art that employs colorful displays of knits or crochet and other fiber material instead of paint in public space.
Some engage in yarn bombing as a fun and creative way to use up left over yarn, others consider it an urban intervention to personalize otherwise cold and impersonal spaces or to make socio- political statements. Humor is often a major component of yarn bombing, which by its nature embodies contradictory idiosyncrasies within itself.
In its seemingly odd juxtaposition of knitting and graffiti, often associated with opposing concepts such as female, granny, indoors, domestic, wholesome and soft vs. male, enfant terrible, outdoors, public, underground and edgy, the practice of yarn bombing redefines both genres. Yarn bombing transforms knitting from a domestic endeavor to public art, recontextualizing both knitting and graffiti, both of which are marginalized creative endeavors that fall outside “high art.”
Like all public art, be it sanctioned commissions or self-initiated, unauthorized formats, yarn bombing imposes a particular aesthetic onto an environment that may be appreciated by some, but may not appeal to everyone. Yet, yarn bombing is necessarily ephemeral due to its use of materials and perhaps the most environmentally friendly graffiti because it can easily be removed with a pair of scissors and no damage left behind.
>If you’re in Southern California, please feel free to drop in on one of our monthly stitch n bitch meetings every third Saturday of the month, 2-5pm at the Craft and Folk Art Museum at 5814 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90036.
DON’T WORRY IF YOU CANT CROCHET OR KNIT…While you can probably learn to knit or crochet during our meetings, some of us don’t actually knit or crochet at all! Many yarn bombers use recycled sweaters and other found materials that they collage together. All skill levels are welcome and participation is free of charge, but advanced registration is recommended.
Yarn Bombing LA, the fiber arts community hailed for creating thought-provoking, community-generated installations in public spaces, sets its sights on the City’s landmark Grand Central Market.
Yarn Bombing LA will transform Grand Central Market into a Greek-inspired yarn-polis with an installation that looks at the coming together of crafters, pedestrians, and downtown Los Angeles districts in the space of the open-air market where the public has a chance to have a hand in yarn bombing LA’s oldest food hall by participating in a series of free workshops where they can knit, crochet or sew portions of the hundreds of individual fabric pieces that will be part of the monumental floor to ceiling art work.
Grand Central Market will host workshops from 2 – 5 p.m. on the following Saturdays: August 23, September 27 and October 11. The Market is located at 317 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, 90013.
Also…Yarn Bombing Los Angeles would like to bid a fond farewell to its founder Arzu Arda Kosar and welcome Carol Zou as the new “Head Poncho” of YBLA activities. Arzu has been the main instigator, visionary, facilitator and producer of YBLA events since 2011. Arzu is now passing the torch on to Carol, who has been her main collaborator for CAFAM Granny Squared, to pursue her other interests. We thank Arzu for her vision, energy and dedication to activating YBLA and wish her the best for her future projects.