By: Ana Staskevich, Staff Writer
SFU has been a surprising target for quite a few “knit graffiti” pieces. Knit graffiti, also known as yarn bombing, is often described as a new installation of street art. Instead of painting objects, one knits or crochets to create colourful, entertaining displays. This type of art is meant to decorate streetscapes, drawing attention to the aesthetics that can also be used to promote types of activism.
In the recent past, SFU has had a few of its notable art pieces “yarn-bombed,” such as the “On the Beach” statue. The statue definitely benefitted from the bright colors, as the reds and pinks created a fun contrast against the pale texture of the stone. Maybe not the most expected piece to get yarn-bombed, but it was definitely noticeable!
The infamous avocado sculpture also fell victim to yarn bombing years ago, along with the Terry Fox statue in the Academic Quadrangle garden, which sported a crocheted headband for a little while.
As far as we can tell, SFU has been the perfect place for yarn bombers to unleash their creativity. That’s why it was a pleasant surprise to see that in recent months, new yarn-bombing pieces have started popping up all over campus.
Fortunately, we were able to get in contact with the elusive Yarn Bomber that is responsible for these displays. While respecting their anonymity, we decided to conduct an interview to get answers to some of our burning questions.
Q: What gives you inspiration for your projects?
A: Mostly the Internet. Some people undertake incredible yarn-bombing projects, and I find a lot of inspiration in those. When I see certain art pieces at SFU or fixtures that people may ignore, like payphones, I really want to add to them so people are drawn or redrawn to them. There’s a lot of beautiful art at all three SFU campuses, but I feel like people don’t notice it. I want to add something colourful and new to art pieces so that people will notice them, maybe even for the first time. If people are surprised and amused by the yarn bombs, then I think the time I put into them is worth it.
Q: What type of yarn do you use?
A: Acrylic yarn, usually from Michaels.
Q: What got you interested in doing yarn bombing?
A: There’s a free book library near my apartment. One day, I found a book called Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti by Mandy Moore and Lianne Prain (who is also an SFU alumna). I had recently learned to crochet, but had never heard of yarn bombing before. The book gave me so many ideas for ways to brighten up different spaces. I immediately thought of SFU Burnaby, and how drab our campus is. I thought it would be cool to bring some colour and life to it.
Q: Any hints for future locations?
A: I haven’t planned any yet, unfortunately. The Terry Fox statue has been on my bucket list for a while, but I know other people love to dress him up already. I might bring some yarn graffiti to the Burnaby campus bus loops and other art pieces on campus.
The identity of this secret Yarn Bomber remains a mystery, and it goes without saying that we may never find out. However, that shouldn’t stop us from enjoying their masterpieces and anticipating their future creations!
There are quite a few yarn-bombing sites still around, and we encourage you to check them out for yourselves! One of the crochet displays is located on the payphone in MBC, and the other one is located on the payphone in the AQ, right by Mackenzie Cafe.