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Yarn Bombers Eye Art Soup Prize

Keep an eye on York Boulevard where the Yarn Bombers Los Angeles Collective will be creating public art installations as part of their Art Soup L.A. presentation.

I am not one of the lucky/speedy few who have snagged reservations to   Therefore, I will not get a chance to pay $10 for a bowl of soup at the hopefully-opening-soon or choose between the presenting artists, one of whom will win the collected admission fees.

But I and my fellow art enthusiast Northeast L.A. residents will get a preview of the artistic vision of the Yarn Bombing Los Angeles Collective, whose proposal was chosen from more than 40 applicants.  Similar to the Arroyo Arts Collective-sponsored Fig Knit-On--which festooned a section of Figueroa with yarn “graffiti” in October 2010--members of the collective will create a public art installation over the next few days along York Boulevard.

The Vision

“The idea,” said Arroyo Arts Collective Co-President Heather Hoggan, “is to exhibit four cars covered in fiber, yarn bomb the utility box and a parking meter or two, and to display a little exhibit--my sparrows eating French fries--inside [Ba].

The Members

The Yarn Bombing Los Angeles Collective is returning home, in a way.  The Fig Knit-On inspired artist Arzu Arda Kosar to approach Hoggan about putting together “a similar event on June 18th, 2011 at 18th Street Arts Center, where I have my studio. Yarn Bombing 18th Street ended up becoming a much larger production than we originally anticipated and amassed over 60 participants from four different continents. A group of artists who met in the course of this event now form the core of the Yarn Bombing Los Angeles Collective.”

Forest, For the Trees Gets New Home

The members of the Collective meet monthly at the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Mid-Wilshire. Kosar said that sections of Forest, for the Trees--a “knit and crocheted forest environment” recently curated by Hoggan at Avenue 50 Studio--has “sprouted up in the front window of the Craft and Folk Art Museum.” The exhibit at the Craft and Folk Art Museum will remain on display through May.

Chains of Friendship

Should the collective win Saturday's Art Soup L.A. competition, they will use the money to help fund their latest project, Chains of Friendship. 

"There will be workshops at senior centers where members of the collective will teach knitting, crochet, knotting, papier-mâché and other simple craft methods to the residents to produce architectural scale charm bracelets or necklaces” which would be displayed inside and outside buildings, Hoggan and Kosar said.

Kosar said that the group is “especially interested in working with the elderly as they tend to be an underrepresented group in community outreach efforts involving the arts.” Added Collective member Darlyn Susan Yee, “it is an opportunity to engage people who are so often forgotten, yet have so much to say.”

The Challenge 

But first, the Collective members have to Yarn Bomb York Boulevard. 

Mount Washington knitter and fiber artist Connie Rohman, who first suggested that the collective apply to Art Soup L.A. explains some of the inherent challenges in Yarn Bombing. “For me, the biggest challenge is getting a pattern with the correct measurements, so that the finished piece will fit correctly.  With that first parking meter cover [for Fig Knit-On], I crossed my fingers and created a pattern.”

Luckily for Rohman, the pattern fit well and the yarn was sturdy and forgiving enough for her “couture” parking meter cover to have survived a car crashing into the meter.  The bloody but unbowed meter cover will move from Rohman’s living room to the street in front of Ba as part of the collective’s Art Soup L.A. presentation this Saturday, January 21.

Highland Park resident David Orozco, one of the few male artists in the collective, cites “time” as the biggest challenge. “It takes a while to crochet a scarf.  Imagine the time to crochet a bus bench, a parking meter, a tree or a car.”

Rohman agrees, adding, “When you install, you need to be quick about it and get that piece wrapped and sewn on as quickly as possible.  Yarn bombing is, after all, graffiti in public spaces.  Even if it does beautify the area, I'm not sure it's a legal activity.  Although I don't know of anyone who has ever been arrested for yarn bombing.”

Here’s hoping Yarn Bombing Los Angeles Collective’s luck holds through Saturday.

Sandra Mastroianni January 26, 2012 at 01:03 AM
David Orozco of the Yarn bombers group has bombed the tree in front of Cactus Gallery. Check it out at: 4534 Eagle Rock Blvd., Eagle Rock, CA 90041

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