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Graffiti for Gals

Anonymous artist Streetcolor talks about "yarn bombing" a new kind of street art.


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Streetcolor

 Recently, a vibrant, whimsical piece of street art appeared near the Orinda Public Library. Someone had painstakingly knitted a multi-colored covering for the bicycle rack.

That someone calls herself “Streetcolor,” and this piece is one of the many “yarn bombs” the Berkeley resident has created around the Bay Area. Yarn bombing, stealth knitting, yarn storming—call it what you will, this graffitilike movement with a cozy, domestic twist has taken off worldwide.
Streetcolor, who likes to remain anonymous, says she began yarn bombing for fun. “I liked the strong visual attraction to how the knitting looked outside. I didn’t know much about graffiti or street art.” With each new installation she did, the details of which she chronicles online (streetcolor.wordpress.com), the artist became more intrigued by the reactions her work provoked, which were largely positive compared to the usual response to graffiti, which is often seen as adding to the urban blight.

“Traditional graffiti is mostly done by men and can be very aggressive—sometimes beautiful but often intimidating,” says Streetcolor. “I realized that yarn bombing was the inverse of that: It’s soothing, pleasing, and luxurious.”

Not all yarn bombing is greeted with enthusiasm. A striped piece of knitting (not by Streetcolor) on a lamp pole outside Walnut Creek Yacht Club in February was swiftly removed by the city, with the admonition that decorating public property without permission was a no-no.

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