Yarn bombing is an artform where colourful knitting is applied to common street objects such as fire hydrants and telegraph poles. The practice of yarn bombing is said to have originated in Texas but has gained popularity around the world. While some classify yarn bombing as vandalism, others view it as a way of bringing colour to an otherwise sterile streetscape. Yarn bombing has allowed for feminist participation in the traditionally male dominated graffiti scene (McGovern 2019).
The practice of yarn bombing is illegal in some jurisdictions, but is often not prosecuted as vigorously as graffiti. McGovern (2019) suggests that this is because yarn bombing is often done by middle class white women, and it is more easily removed. Agata Oleksiak faced legal difficulties for yarnbombing an underwater museum, when it resulted in damage to marine life (Wikipedia). Similarly, the yarn bombing of plant life has been criticised for its potential to negatively impact growth and sap production.
Yarn bombing has been used as a form of protest. In Queensland the Knit Your Revolt Tricycle Gang used yarnbombing to protest anti-bikie legislation. Others have used yarn bombing as a way of highlighting political issues such as climate change and anti-consumer sentiment (McGovern 2019). One yarn bomber argued that they reason she yarn bombs is to highlight ‘that not all tagging is bad’ (McGovern 2014). However, graffiti artists are just as passionate about defending their artform. In an article which explains why graffiti is not vandalism, graffiti was promoted as taking technical skill, exemplifying freedom of expression and powerfully championing political and social issues (Art Life).
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Art Life, Why Graffiti Art is Not Vandalism, accessed at Graffiti Art: Why Graffiti is Art and Not vandalism (artlife.com)
McGovern, Alyce (6 March 2014). "Knit one, purl one: the mysteries of yarn bombing unravelled". The Conversation accessed at Knit one, purl one: the mysteries of yarn bombing unravelled | UNSW Newsroom
McGovern, Alyce (2019). Craftivism and Yarn Bombing: A Criminological Exploration. London: Palgrave.
Wikipedia, accessed at Yarn bombing - Wikipedia