What do you do when you're suddenly confronted by a threatening sign where this year's crop of wild blackberries were leveled along the Arbutus corridor?
You yarn-bomb it, of course. That's what one craftivist did, and it's lovely too: a raspberry sheath with fuzzy stripes, jaunty buttons and a bowtie. It says, Sorry officer but we can't take you seriously in that ridiculous outfit.
It was a charming, disarming move following the brutal behaviour of the railway bosses who are in the midst of strong-arming the City to pay big (starting with smashing through a few gardens, like a gangster might start by hacking off a toe). On the midsummer's day of the clearcut, a little old lady in her walker stared at the spectacle and said in a shaky voice, "I'm heartbroken."
The raspberry sheath is a humorous act but the dedication to the making reflects on the maker's serious intention. This piece of visual satire is a daily reminder to question authority.
Two months later, this act of self-expression remains intact — knitted fiber is durable that way. Indeed, 'use' is never far away from craftivism.
Anyone who bikes hither and yon in this town has seen yarnbombing and other furtive fiber-based forms. it's almost a call-out to likeminded makers to mobilize, like the bat signal. And there's just the place to hang out and plot the revolution next week in the radical hotbed of Mount Pleasant.
From the Hot Art Wet City site:
Kim Piper Werker is the author of Make It Mighty Ugly: Exercises and Advice for Getting Creative Even When It Ain’t Pretty and several crochet books. Kim teaches hands-on and discussion based Mighty Ugly workshops and lecture-conversations that help people build confidence in what they make and do.
Leanne Prain‘s newest book is Strange Material: Storytelling Through Textiles. A professional graphic designer, Leanne holds degrees in creative writing, art history, and publishing.
Betsy Greer is a writer, maker, and researcher and the author of Craftivism: The Art and Craft of Activism. She runs the blog Craftivism.com and believes that creativity and positive activism can save not only the soul, but also the world.