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The Tempe Community Complex near the corner of Southern and Rural looks like it’s been “bundled up” thanks to the global sensation of Yarn Bombing – also known as knit bombing. “Yarn bombing” is an art form where public items – such as stop signs, light poles and trees – are covered with yarn that is knitted and/or crocheted as a type of graffiti. Yarn bombing was initially almost exclusively about reclaiming and personalizing sterile or cold public places. It has since developed with groups graffiti knitting and crocheting worldwide, each with their own agendas and public graffiti knitting projects being run. Yarn bombing examples have been recorded as early as May 2004 in Den Helder, Netherlands.
The City of Tempe challenged Tempe Yarn to “Bomb” the Tempe Community Services Complex Courtyard. On a Saturday in early February a commando team of about 20 knit bombed the complex! The City of Tempe states on their facebook page that “Yarn Bombing is a fun project in which community members come from all over to place items they have made throughout a certain area. It’s a fun way to start a knitting hobby, brighten up an area and promote arts in Tempe.”
Statement from the City of Tempe/ Edna Vihel Center about the yarn bombing:
“Yarn Bombing started in Houston, Texas by a crew named Knitta Please, and has grown into a world-wide graffiti/art/fiber movement. Yarn Bombing may take many forms and generally involves the act of attaching a handmade item to a street fixture, or leaving it in the landscape to be noticed through chance encounters. It can be as complex as a sweater made to cover a statue or as simple as a square wrapped around a lamp post. Yarn Bombing may be political, heart-warming, and at times even funny. A great example of Yarn Bombing humor can be seen in northern Italy where an enormous pink bunny made of straw-stuffed fabric lies on the Colletto Fava hillside; it’s so large that the image has been captured by Google Earth! Most of all, Yarn Bombing is unexpected and it resonates with almost everyone who encounters it.”
The “Knit Bomb” project continues at Tempe Public Library. Every few weeks a new piece appears around another tree or lamp pole. “Yarn Bombing” is spreading through the east valley with next stop at Mesa Arts Center during Spark! from March 13th to the 17th.
Carol Hummel, an artist from Ohio who won a public art competition for yarn bombing back in 2005, covered the trunk of the tree outside of the Cleveland Heights City Hall from the base to the highest branch in red, yellow, pink and blue knit. The tree remained yarned till 2008. “As an artist, I think yarn bombing is a way to bring art to the people,” Hummel said. “Whether yarn bombing is done in stealth or with permission, I think it’s an extremely positive, creative, uplifting, happy experience for the people creating it as well as the people seeing it and living with it.”