Why I Hate Yarn-Bombing / Knitted Graffiti, by Emily
1. It’s disgusting. The reason things like handrails, bike racks, and street signs are typically not covered with fabric is, obviously, that non-fabric materials are much more resistant to the inevitable changes in weather that befall any outdoor fixture. As soon as a cozied outdoor item gets wet it’s going to become a horrific squishy breeding ground for mold and mildew which no one will want to touch. Even if it doesn’t rain it’s going to be quickly filled with dirt and disgusting and, again, no one will want to touch it. Sometimes people NEED to be able to touch these things, especially handrails.
2. It’s wasteful. Yarn is expensive. If you’ve spent the time to learn to knit or crochet well you might have quickly run out of friends to make hats or blankets for. But that’s no reason to just leave your knitting around the city to eventually fall off of whatever lamppost you’ve decided to attach it to and into the gutter where it will be swept to sea for an unsuspecting manatee to become become tangled in. I know it probably gets cut off and thrown away before that happens in almost every case, but wouldn’t it be better if these people would use their skills to knit blankets for homeless babies or something like that instead of making something that’s just going to get trashed? It’s not like we live in a world where everyone has money and time to buy or knit themselves a nice sweater.
3. The message is so limited. My understanding is that people think yarn-bombing is cool because it recontextualizes an urban environment and makes people think about their surroundings in a different way, but that’s pretty much it. Initially it’s an interesting idea, but once you’ve seen one lamppost in a legwarmer you’ve pretty much seen them all. Judging from the number of besweatered items I’ve seen on the streets there are dozens of people doing nearly-identical urban cozifying projects in the East Bay alone. It is possible to do more complicated knitting with words or images, but I’ve personally never seen an example of that except for some photos of street signs that were covered with knitted replicas of the same street signs. If you have nothing to say with your artwork, I don’t want to look at it, and the vast majority of the work I’ve seen is saying nothing at all besides “this thing has a cozy, haha!”
Knitting in general is great because it’s useful and beautiful at the same time. Making it into graffiti takes away both of those attributes and turns it into an ugly, wasteful, boring mess.
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