Off-Ramp

Off-Ramp host John Rabe and contributors share thoughts on arts, culture, and life in L.A.

Yarn Bombing: A peaceful form of street art

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It's 9:00 PM on the corner of a busy intersection in downtown Santa Monica, and Giovanna Forsyth, equipped with a needle and yarn, stands before her target. Quickly, and with calculated precision, she begins to sew.

Forsyth is yarn bombing a light post on Pier and Main Street.

Within minutes, she wraps the post with a rectangular crotchet pattern. It's a cloth sign with the phrase, "I love you, but you don't know what you're talking about." It's a line from the film Moonrise Kingdom.

Forsyth says Yarn Bombing is "when you crochet or knit something, and you put it up so that it's where everyone could see it." People have yarn bombed trees, statues, bikes... pretty much any inanimate object is fair game.

The trend started around 2005 in Texas and has expanded to the rest of the world. Hanging crocheted pieces in public shares some similarities to graffiti. "It's kind of this form of peaceful street art. You're not permanently damaging public or private property. You can easily take it down, or leave it there to be appreciated," says Forsyth.
 
At home, Forsyth takes care of her four-year-old boy and crochets on the side. While jogging in Santa Monica, she spotted a crocheted robot sewed onto a light post. She contacted the artist through a business card that was attached to the robot, and was immediately hooked into the world of yarn bombing.

"There's an idea in my head and I really want to get it out, and I can express it through a yarn bomb," she said.
 
Giovanna now takes her son along when she's yarn bombing. She says it's exciting to show her son a different way of harnessing his creativity. Forsyth also enjoys this form of street art because it makes a person stop and look, adding: "you would be hard-pressed to walk by a yarn bomb and not at least think about it."


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