June 18, 2008

Hey, that's not embroidery!

Not yet at least. I really like graffiti and street art and I think they are closely related to the contemporary 'anti-craft' movement (if it is a movement?). I think most people have heard of Knitta and similar groups. Although, they are mostly focused on knitting and crochet; there's not a lot of embroidered graffiti going on. Here is one example though, Ulrika Erde's work on public transportation. I just love that stuff!

There is something really wonderful about the unexpectedness of embroidery on a bus seat. A very interesting aspect, I think, of embroidered graffiti is that graffiti is mainly associated with anonymous guys in hoodies defacing trains and any other surface. There is something aggressive about graffiti (sometimes), for some people it is mainly a way of giving the authorities the finger and less about an art form.

Crochet and embroidered graffiti are gentler forms, perhaps, but I think they can say just as much, although in a more subtle way. To me it is about changing the world ever so slightly, even if it's just by covering a hand rail or a tree trunk in a knitted cosy, saying "look over here, did you ever notice this tree before?" I like that. That someone takes the time to make you stop and think. For no other reason than just that.

I also really like the cross pollination between different disciplines. So, I would like to propose a wee challenge. Which actually has two parts and you can choose to do one or both of them. First, go for a walk and take pictures of the graffiti you see (if you live in the country and there's no graffiti around you can look on the internet or bust out the spray cans yourself!), pick one of them and make it into embroidery. Second, either do embroidery directly on a bus seat or somewhere else in a public space (but try not to get into trouble), or make an embroidered piece from home (geese in bonnets, anyone?!) and attach it somewhere in a public place (again, keep out of trouble.)

Right. This was a very long post, but I hope you'll play along. I'm definitely the slightly timid type, so I may only do the first option. Although, doing the second option would be a bit of a rush. Being ever so slightly illegal. ;-)

12 comments:

  1. wow! this is really cool. I am looking forward to this challenge---I don't know about embroidering a public seat----er, um.....I painted picnic tables in Lake Superior when we went camping with graffiti--however, really nice work.....it was quite fun.....what a great idea! Loved how you wrote your post, verrrrrrry interesting. thanks

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  2. Lately, I've had a very strong desire to embroider something on pillowcases in the motels I've stayed in... and I always... almost do it... ;) I also love the idea of turning graffiti into embroidery - I have a piece already in mind! :)

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  3. There is a piece of graffiti that is all over our town, it simply states "these things remain" I've been wanting to stitch it for ages : )

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  4. What a cool post! I love it. It sounds like you would *really* like the book Guerrilla Art Kit. I've just started reading it, and it's very cool.

    And, Flor, that's the coolest idea I've ever heard. Pure brilliance. Do it!

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  5. Love the idea of turning grafitti into embroidery, but I think I am a bit like you, the second part of the challenge might be a bit daunting

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  6. Ulrika appeared in a couple large new sites here in Sweden in January, I think it was. I thought it was pretty cool and made a post about her on my blog. She's left over 100 message on the buses and trains. The authorities consider it "sabotage", but she hasn't received a ticket yet, anyways!

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  7. this is great- i've added it to the list of summer projects for people to try as part of Miss Stacey's Summer School - this is the first time i've seen 'feeling stitchy' and I know i'm going to be coming back for more.

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  8. what a great idea! Hmmm, the mind boggles. I actually turned graffiti into a quilt http://www.flickr.com/photos/rexandsharkey/202778047/in/set-72057594140883735/ (although it wasn't a complete success) and I hope to do more, but this adds a new wrinkle, eh?

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  9. just discovered you blog ! I like street art when i says "hi" on your way to go...see you

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  10. I love this challenge. I often take photos of graffiti I like, so it'll be fun to turn one of those into embroidery. While I can't see me embroidering directly on a bus seat, I think I could make something at home and turn that into graffiti somehow.

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  11. This is an excellent post, and it is also something that I have been thinking about recently. I am actually in the process of embroidering a graffiti hollow so it is totally serendipitous to come across this post on your lovely blog. I am so happy to have stumbled upon you. I love what you are doing.

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