Monday, March 26th, 2012...8:58 pm
The Bissel Bombers: A Cross-Stich of Cute & Subversive
When’s the last time you saw your campus decorated by yarn fixtures? Pretty recently if you spend any time in the Bissel Building, home of the Bissel Bombers. The Bissel Bombers are a group of top-secret yarn-bombers who do what they can to meet the gap between the “aesthetically uninspiring” i-school building and the friendliness of the characters who study within its walls. I was lucky to get in touch with “P-1 K-1”, a member of the group to discover more of the wooly details.
My first curiosity was, what’s the point? P-1 K-1 was able to explain that yarn-bombing, for her, meant “the act of altering a public space with yarn in order to make that space look more welcoming and friendly”. However, since being involved, she has met various people who use it as a statement against prescriptive gender and social roles, as well as those who use it for more commercial purposes.Magda Sayeg (ft. in the above clip) is often considered “The Mother of Yarn-Bombing”
Next, why this alias business? I mean, can there really be anything dangerous about knitting? Personally I don’t immediately think subversive when I think of needles and yarn – I had to get to the bottom of this. P-1 K-1 was able to explain:
Even though yarn bombs don’t actually damage the objects – they just wrap around them – some people would still categorize it as graffiti. To parody this, most yarn bomb groups will come up with silly gang names and aliases. I’ve made some jokes in past blogs about sneaking around and working under the cover of darkness, but it’s mostly just to add to the fun of yarn bombing.
Starting to understand a bit better, I can start to see how this is an appealing act. Part aesthetic motivation, part social movement, part craft, part friendship group (refraining from “close-knit” pun) – it seems to bring multiple positive components together in a fun way. Additionally, all aspects seem quite suited to an environment like the University campus. I wanted to know how any of us could get involved if we were interested. Main thing – check out the Bissel Bombers blog, here’s where you can get in contact with the group and contribute – whichever way you want.
And if bombing ain’t your thing, but perhaps you’re feeling a bit crafty, don’t forget to drop in to the last few sessions of Lunchtime Crafts @ Hart House. Go this Thursday, or next, between 11am-1:30pm!