Yarnbombing the Keweenaw

"Knitting and crochet has deep roots in the history of women as homemakers and textile artists. Often times, women would gather and make the activity a social occasion in which they would discuss topics that were important to them. Graffiti art is a modern form of expression, but is often solitary. Six women came together to express themselves through yarn graffiti and found themselves conversing about many subjects – some silly, some deep. Yarn graffiti ties together our disparate interests with an authentic, whimsical spirit, and in a very real and literal way, it ties us together not only as young people, women, or artists, but as humans. Through the documentation of this process of knot making and the act of installing the yarn graffiti, these six ladies invite the viewer to discover a personal conversation about desires, common threads, and topics uniquely their own."
Finlandia University is lucky to have a group of very active members in the Young Women's Caucus, which is part of a much larger national organization, the Women's Caucus of Art.  The WCA is a great network of women artists doing inspiring things all over the country, while the YWC helps bridge the gap between established and emerging artists, by providing opportunities and a community for young people who are just starting to make their way in the art world.

And yep, you read right-- it's a clubhouse with a "Girls Only" sign on the door.  Some people are mad about this.  I get mad about things sometimes too.  Emotions happen.

Anyway, every year the WCA puts on a national conference to bring its members together.  This year the conference was in NYC and the theme was "Live Space."  Finlandia YWC members had the opportunity to put on a performance piece with the theme "What Women Want" in a NYC gallery.

Wow that's awesome, right?!  We were way excited!  Only-- none of us identified as performance artists!  So we were way intimidated and scared and freaked out too!

And so the talking began, followed by research, improv games, and more talking.  Four of our six members are highly involved with or even majoring in fiber and fashion design.  These four also knit a bunch.  One day Amanda Moyer, who has a higher than average rate of a-ha! moments as it is, outdid herself when she suggested, "What about yarn graffiti?"  It's awesome, that's what about it!

During the course of two months, our group spent two to four days a week knitting and knotting and splashing the winter landscape with colorful yarn creations.  We documented it all and edited it into a fun short film.  In New York, we showed the film and created a yarn installation in the gallery.  And then we had some wine and cheese and sat back and enjoyed the other awesome performances.  We did it!

When I think back to how unsure of ourselves we were at the beginning and how intimidated we were by the idea of working in a medium we were unfamiliar with, I am grateful we were presented with an opportunity that challenged us.  It made us stretch and learn and grow, in many ways that we could not have predicted, even beyond the art-making aspects of the project.  Also it turns out that there are elements of performance in much of the art we create, which we didn't realize before, but which we're better able to grasp and use now.

Comfort doesn't do anything except make you fat and lazy, and fix you in the same place, never moving, never changing.  Fear is a signpost telling you what actions, people, and places are going to challenge you and lead to growth and change.  Do things that scare you, because things that scare you will transform you.

Alternate closing metaphor: Fear is a cloaking device that hides the fun core of life.  Do scary things because the only way to remove fear and reveal the true and fun nature of things is by doing them!

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