As part of Flock To Ossett, we ran a yarnstorming project.
Yarnstorming. It’s where you apply wool to things in the great outdoors and they become semi-permanent works of art. Yarnstorming is also know as Urban Knitting, Guerilla Knitting, Knitted Graffiti and YarnBombing but we reckoned using the words, Urban, Bombing, Graffiti and Guerilla would send the good burghers of our town into a tailspin, so we settled on the slightly less provocative ‘Yarnstorming’.
Yarnstormers are covert operators, they prepare their exhibits in secret and at the dead of night take to the streets like cat burglars and dress street furniture, trees and statues with wool.
For our project, we operated under the codename of S.O.C.K.S The Secret Ossett Crocheters and Knitters Society. For 3 months, women (and a few chaps) knitted, nattered, crocheted and cackled their way to knitting over 1500 granny squares, several tree hugs, lamp post cuffs, banners, sheep, snakes, ghosts, bottles, flowers, ribbons, bunting, miles and miles and miles of the stuff.
They met in coffee shops, secret knitting covens and front rooms. We set up a wool exchange in our local coffee shop where folks could pick up some wool and then drop it off later when it has been knitted into something and swap that for more wool. Several companies and individuals donated wool to us, Sirdar, King Cole, Designer Yarns and World of Wool. Folks kept turning up with bin bags full of wool. ‘I hear you need wool? I’ve been clearing out my cupboards and found this lot, is it any good?’ … sack fulls of the stuff kept turning up.
We realised pretty quickly that Ossett was a hotbed of frustrated yarnstormers who were aching to get out there and make a statement in wool. People you’d never seen before would turn up and announce, ‘I’ve made you a snake, any good?’ … it was as though hundreds of women had been waiting for their moment to arrive and it had.
Woolworkers I have discovered are a hardy and reliable sort. You organise a knitathon, they turn up, you want them to stay up all night and crochet round a bike ‘What a great idea, what time do you want me?’ … you ask them to take away someone else’s work and make it into something, it comes back made up. You plant a seed of an idea and a tree grows, you ask them to get up at 2am to install their work and the excitement overwhelms them so much that they don’t sleep the night before and are at it before you can say ‘2ply’.
Many photographs were taken of our glorious woolwork and you can see some of them in the galleries listed in earlier posts. But the centrepiece of our display was most definitely, our bike … everyone had a hand it in, tiny bits of things that first time crocheters or knitters had made, found their way onto our Bike. It’s become the Kate Moss of Flock To Ossett, photographed by everyone and now everyone wants to dress like her … you watch out, multicoloured crocheted garb will be hitting Ossett Market any day now.
Our bike is still on display at Eller Coffee, turning heads and drawing crowds … yesterday I was fixing up the wheel cosies, they’d gone a bit baggy and needed a perk, and someone came by ‘Excuse me, can I take your photograph with the bike?’ … ten minutes later, ‘What’s that all about then? It looks great, who made it?’ …. it’s one of the few stand alone pieces we made for our yarnstorming and in the careful curatorship of Mark Ellerker of Eller Coffee it is put on display every morning for folks to admire.
This is her, she’s a beauty isn’t she? Pop by and say hello, she’ll be on display for a short while longer. Let us know what you think of her. Oh and what do you think we should call her, I think she looks like a Gloria??
Lead Artist on the Yarnstormed Bike and S.O.C.K.S Project : Cassandra Richardson
Bike Very Kindly Donated by Jodie Hawkins and Family.
Photograph by Andy Wills www.andrewwills.co.uk