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Knitters and crocheters to 'graffiti' Victoria Street for B.C. Seniors Games

Marlaina Buch of the Kamloops Art Gallery shows off some yarn bombing on a bicycle rack outside the gallery.
Image Credit: InfoTel Multimedia
January 17, 2013 - 5:24 PM

Grandmothers may have been inadvertently promoting graffiti for years.

Yarn bombing, crocheted or knitted garments sewn around objects, has become popular throughout the world and will be featured on Victoria Street this summer in conjunction with the B.C. Seniors Games.

"This is a mass public art project," said Marlaina Buch, education and public programs coordinator for the Kamloops Art Gallery. "Typically it's practiced as graffiti."

With a green light from the City of Kamloops, Buch is working with organizations, community groups and individuals to cover the trees on Victoria Street in colourful yarn before the Games start in August. They will remain until mid-November when the weather changes.

"It's been something that's starting to spread globally," Buch said, adding that the Internet has helped accelerate the popularity of yarn bombing.

The idea came to Kamloops from New Zealand.

"It was really one woman, one interested knitter," Buch said.

She's the reason a tree outside the Noble Pig Brewhouse has enjoyed a hand-knitted cozy covered in pigs this winter.

"She'd been involved with yarn bombing groups in New Zealand," she said, adding that the girl has since returned.

While yarn bombing can occur on a wide variety of objects, trees were chosen by the gallery for visibility as well as their prominence on Victoria Street.

"It will make the downtown core feel cheerful without interrupting the regular flow of things," Buch said.

Buch hopes the project will show multiple sides of Kamloops during the Games, as not only the Tournament Capital, but as an art community.

"We're a city known for sports," she said.

She said the project not only showcases Kamloops' artistic abilities, but ties in with the Games.

"It gets older people and younger people intermingling," she said.

While knitting and crocheting is typically associated with an older demographic, Buch said a wide range of age groups, excluding minors, participate in a monthly 'knit and sip' session at the Noble Pig.

"I do want to counter that stereotype," she said. "It's another artistic element. It's another medium."

Buch is encouraging Kamloops residents to get involved, adding that there are different levels of participation from donating supplies to taking on a whole tree.

"If a tree is too much, you can send in grannie squares, et cetera," she said.

The gallery can provide some donated supplies and will even provide an experienced knitter and/or crocheter to organizations to provide on-site instructions.

She said they are encouraging people to be creative.

"There are no rules with it," she said. "We're really trying to say yes to everything and no to almost nothing."

Those interested can contact Buch at 250-377-2400, email her at Drop-in 'knit and sip' sessions are held from 5 to 7 p.m. on the first Monday of the month at the Noble Pig. Those interested can join a group of amateur to experienced knitters and crocheters. There will also be a casual session held at the gallery on Jan. 24 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

While there are some set days to become involved, Buch is encouraging people to organize their own knitting and crocheting sessions.

"We want people to take it on," she said.

Buch also hopes the project will inspire those with ideas to share them.

"If you have an idea, you can approach the gallery," she said.

— Jessica Wallace

A tree outside the Noble Pig Brewhouse, downtown Kamloops, was part of the inspiration behind the large scale yarn bombing art coming to Kamloops in August.
A tree outside the Noble Pig Brewhouse, downtown Kamloops, was part of the inspiration behind the large scale yarn bombing art coming to Kamloops in August.
Image Credit: InfoTel Multimedia

Image Credit: InfoTel Multimedia
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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