It's hard to think of two more opposite terms joined together than "yarn-bombing," which has got to be the least-violent kind of bombing that could ever exist. But before you head for cover in fear of a sweatervest mushroom cloud, you should learn a bit more about the guerilla crafting that goes on with Knitterati, Atlanta's crafty group of knitters that have concocted a few aforementioned bombings in our hometown. Most recently, the knitting needle-armed crew accepted an invitation to bring their craft to the Beltline, where they prepped the trees lining the paths for autumn in their own little sweaters. Brigette Flood, head knitter in charge of the group, gave us the intel on the Knitterati collective, their Beltline project, and exactly how much yarn it takes to turn a swath of trees into a bunch of snappy dressers.
SCOUT: So, why start a collective of knitters?
Brigette: I was in Austin for SXSW and stumbled upon the work of Magda Sayeg, founder of Knitta Please. After seeing her work and blog, I was inspired to do something similar here in Atlanta. I enjoy knitting and have a lot of friends who knit and crochet, so when The Beltline called for grants, I asked friends if they would be interested in pursuing it together. There was no way one person could tackle it alone, given the schedule. They agreed. And since the purpose of the installation is about the final result and not the individuals behind it, we created The Knitterati.
SCOUT: Tell us a little about yarn-bombing and the whole guerilla knitting phenomenon. What is it? Why do it?
Brigette: The easiest way to describe yarn bombing is “knit graffiti.” It’s a non-authorized installation on a public space … which so far seems to elicit much less vitriol than painting, postering, stickering and other street art. We like that it takes something that was typically created & used at home into public spaces. The visual impact is cozy and colorful and hopefully gets people to notice an existing place or thing they might not have before. As a group, we enjoy the idea of this medium going beyond artistic handicrafts and making bold statements in urban settings. Who knew knitting and crocheting would get hipster cred?
SCOUT: Who knew, indeed! So how did it feel for Knitterati to be chosen for the Art On The Beltline project?
Brigette: A pleasant excitement set in after the initial shock wore off. Because we’re casual knitters, not fine artists, we thought our application and installation was a long shot.
SCOUT: Tell us about Knitterati's public art idea for the Beltline and where we can find it.
Brigette: All 8 Knitterati live intown & we were excited to share the enthusiasm we have for the project. I like our artist statement because it’s succinct. Handmade knit & crochet tree coverings individually-crafted to showcase the beauty of the Beltline through colors and patterns as unique as the Atlanta community.
The installation location is on the Westside of town, in the Mosley Park neighborhood. The address closest to where you enter is: 196 Napoleon Drive Southwest, Atlanta. [Ed. note: scroll below for directions.]
SCOUT: How much yarn does it take to dress up that many trees?
Brigette: Lots! By my highly scientific measuring techniques, the amount equals all of the following:
the square foot of our queen-size guest bed x 3.
enough to fill 6 giant black garbage bags
150 skeins of yarn of all sizes and types
SCOUT: Do the Knitterati have any plans for projects after the Beltline installation?
Brigette: Yes, definitely.
SCOUT: Keep us posted! Are there any other Atlanta artists or groups that inspire you and your fellow knitters?
Brigette: There are so many great artists in Atlanta, it’s amazing. Street art provides constant inspiration. I’ve always been a fan of both Sever and Hense. Also love the talented folks at Methane Studios. Their posters & illustrations are spectacular.
A work friend introduced me to another group of artists that I’m excited to check out this weekend (he’s the magician)
SCOUT: Final question: if you could knit an outfit for any building or landmark in ATL, where would it be?
Brigette: We have number 1 preference, but I’m not going to disclose because …. well... you can guess. Number 2 is more geographic than specific. Downtown. Always seems in need of some colorful love and handcrafted comfort.
SCOUT: Can't wait to see what you do with number 1. And the actual final question: where can readers go to learn more about you and your work?
Brigette: We have a not-very-up-to-date blog. Our friend Pam Berger has a blog entry with fantastic photos from the project on her website.
Directions to Knitterati's Beltline installation:
From 75/85, take I-20 west to Exit 54 - Langhorn Street
Take a right off the exit and then take the first right you can (if you stay straight, the road dead ends)
At the stop sign take a LEFT onto Westview Drive
Take an immediate LEFT onto Napoleon Drive
Drive to cul-de-sac and park
You'll see the path to the beltline off the cul-de-sac, handily marked with an orange & purple “you’re in the right place” tree too.
Photos courtesy of Sweet Peach Blog.