June 8, 2012

Guerrilla knitters 'bomb' downtown sculpture

Randy Billings and Shannon Bryan / Staff Writers

PORTLAND — This ain't your grandma's knitting circle.

click image to enlarge

Portland's longtime sculpture "Michael" sports a new knit jacket today in Portland.

John Patriquin / Staff Photographer

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Jean Barash from Wilson, Wyo., photographs Portland's longtime sculpture "Michael" that was partially covered in yarn by people who like to take their knitting to the streets.

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

Additional Photos Below

Unless your grandma and her pals like to sneak out late at night to yarn bomb the public art outside One City Center.

Overnight in Portland, an art installation just off Temple Street found itself adorned in a colorful and form-fitting knit ensemble.

The act is known as yarn bombing – or "the art of crochet and knit graffiti" – and Saturday is International Yarn Bombing Day. The event encourages knitters from around the world to attempt a yarn bomb on the same night. The yarn-bombed art seen outside One City Center today might be a prelude to something bigger and knittier happening overnight. At the very least, the yarn gives the art a livelier demeanor and will help keep the chill off overnight.

Jamie Levine, 46, and Nancy Thomas, 56, both of Westbrook, were waiting for the bus near the statue at Temple Street and Fore Street for about an hour today. They said the display was attracting a lot of attention from passersby, many of whom would take photos and run their hands along the yarn.

But Levine and Thomas were not smitten with knitting.

"It's kind of silly to me," Levine said. "I think it's ridiculous, but some artistic folks might think it's cool."

Nathaniel Meiklejohn, 32, of Portland, stopped by to snap a photo of the display to send to his girlfriend, who enjoys crocheting.

"I think it's awesome," Meiklejohn said. "Art on art can't hurt. It's not permanent and it's actually beautiful work."

Danny Walker, 21, was working the morning shift at Dunkin' Donuts. She said the display was the talk of the town. "Everyone loves it."

A little further up the road at Arabica, Michelle Fitz said only one person had asked about the display (it's just out of eyeshot of the café).

"I didn't see it actually on my way into work," Fitz said, "so I'm a little confused about what it is."

Last year, a group took their knit graffiti to the shops along Main Street in Freeport, decking out fences, lamp posts, trees, tabletops and handrails with colorful knitted designs and crocheted critters.

Folks who missed the impermanent art can see it in this video from Freeport's yarn bombing last year:

For more information on International Yarn Bombing Day, go to yarnbombing.com


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Additional Photos

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A sculpture outside One City Center in Portland was yarn bombed overnight.

Noel Gallagher photo


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