Category Archives: Yarn Bomb

New Kids on the Block

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distillery show

Local Torontonians are probably familiar with the cities Distillery District, a national Historic Site where
the Gooderham and Worts Distillery once operated and where you can find the largest and best preserved
collection of Victorian Industrial Architecture in North America.

This part of town drew a different kind of crowd last weekend when Street Art Showcase took over for their inaugural Urban Art Festival. The entire day was dedicated to graffiti artists, painters, stencilled and of course YARN BOMBING!

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Bissell volunteers wrapping up the street lamps with some crochet cozies.

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All set and waiting for the show to start!

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Our first group of visitors adding their mark to the street with chalk drawings.

The group had been approached a few months ago to think up some ideas for the space. The culturally preserved buildings and cobbled streets make the area such a beautiful place to stroll, not to mention the cute cafes and unique shops around every corner. The group was absolutely thrilled to be a part of the event, especially since it gave us the much needed kick in the pants to really get out there and display something outdoors. earlier in our groups career we had been a bit hesitant to really get out on the streets since the summer had already experienced some pretty big weather mood swings (and our worries were before #stormTO had happened! Eep!) Members dedicate a lot of time and love into producing pieces, and a teeny-tiny selfish part of us want the works to stay clean and colourful for as long as possible. Bleached, and soaked through yarn tends to look a little drab, the opposite of how we want people to feel when they stumble across the yarn bombs.

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Although the morning was a bit cloudy, it was incredible to hear and see the reactions from those passing by.
Once we had all the lamp posts, barrels and even the clock covered with our crochet interventions,
it was time to pop on stage for a little demo.

Throughout the festival, artists working in different mediums were invited to show off their skills and produce a
brand new piece in front of a live audience. Since the Bissell Bombers are all about community and collaboration we
decided to get the audience to help us make even more yarn bombs to decorate the district. Armed with a much yarn in
as many colour imaginable, visitors of all ages got on stage with our Bissell leader and learned how they could make
some fuzzy Pom Poms. Even the event’s MC got in on the action and found himself with a
pure crochet flower festooning his hat!

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The live stage demo was so amazing to run, and seeing families and couples wanting to learn a new craft and ask
questions about yarn bombing was really inspiring. All the Bissell members and installation volunteers could really
feel all the love that went into planning the first ever urban art feat for the district, and were so honoured to have
been able to share what we do. It was such a great day and we owe a lot of thanks to those who organized
the festival and those came out to celebrate local arts and crafts!

Yarnbombing is for everyone

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Warhol bridge

It’s been quite the week for large projects to be revealed.
Moving from Mammoths to modern artists, we have the eventual covering of
the Andy Warhol bridge in Pittsburgh!

Mark your calendars folks, because between August 10 to September 7th you’ll be able to see
the softer  side of city infrastructure when the group Knit The Bridge drapes their
community donated designs over this well known bridge.

And why are they doing this?

To celebrate the history of Pittsburgh as a city of bridges and steel as well
as celebrate the region’s thriving, contemporary
 arts scene. As accessible craft forms,
these community-engaged fiberart traditions will knit
 together strong, healthy, creative communities.

And also, because why the frak not?!
This is gonna look soooo cool!

I’m really stoked for this because collaborative projects between citizens and their
city are awesome reminders of how the world craves creativity.

It’s also gonna be massive.
Like really big.
Big, big.

Now this isn’t the first time that a group of people have helped transform the
steel and concrete connecting two piece of land. Back in 2010 my dear ol’
neighbour Cambridge, Ontario had some work done by KNIT CamBRIDGE (*tee hee cute pun guys)
They actually did the entire main street leading to the bridge as well.

Makes sense since the
city used to be a major textile production hub.

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And peoples love of doing things with bridges goes well beyond North America.
Germany has done it.
France has done it.
And the UK went all out during the Queen’s Diamon Jubilee.

This Pittsburgh project will be the largest of them all however, and that
means some creativity beyond the balls of wool. They’ve got some
neat little incentives to drive charitable giving, and a whole Indigogo campaign.
Anyone interested in lending a hand, either through donations, physical labour, or
fundraising for the project should be sure to check out their website.

Even though the work will only be up for a short period of time,
the group has made it pretty clear that once the pieces come down, they
will be washed and repurposed for a whole host of charitable organizations
including homeless shelters, nursing homes and animal shelters.

That sounds like a win-win-win-win to me! 🙂

Grad Life Part Two: The Employment

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It’s only been a few weeks since convocation, but already there have been a few big updates
from the class of ’13 making their way to Bissell Bomber ears.
SOME OF US HAVE BEEN EMPLOYED! And in the museum world no less!
This is pretty huge.
So a round of applause goes to all those persistent project managers, and
encouraged exhibition designers.Also happening in this wonderful overlap between yarnbombing and museums,
a recent MMsT grad let us know about some awesome corchet projects
happening that in her new home town.The Cincinnati Museum Centre
(which is now hosting the Ultimate Dino exhibition the ROM had available last summer)
has partnered up with the Cincinnati Bombshells to create a cozy display… with MAMMOTHS!
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Called Operation Prehistoric: First in Flight, the group took over the sculptural herd found on Gest street.
I might not have been a huge fan of Disney’s Dumbo, but even I think the little dude
with the big floppy ears and yellow hat is beyond adorable. The mini-monkey was a sweet touch too.
This is not the first time these ladies have worked with museums, back in 2012 they did an
amazing installation for Truly Newly (fiber) Chihuly for the Cincinnati Art Museum’s Great Hall.
It’s pretty incredible to see what they have been doing, and I’m glad they continue to be supported
by their community and cultural hubs.
Can’t wait to see what else they have in store for the year!
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For a full interview with these craft ladies, be sure to check out their The List Show interview with Jenell Walton.

You’ll be Humming to Vitamin C All Day Long

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Convocation walk

Well folks, it’s finally here. Two years full of countless papers, group meetings and
exhibitions later – the iSchool class of 2011/13 is going to get their convocation on today!

As one of our beloved instructors would say, “Woot! Woot!”

This also means I get to listen to this little ditty and feel all nostalgic and such.

But fear not! Just because the Bissell Bombers will no longer be attending classes in the Bissell Building
and many of us will be traveling all over the world in search of paying museum jobs *hint hint
(or amazing opportunity-filled internships *wink wink) doesn’t mean the group will have
disbanded – or I guess in knit pun terms unraveled ha…ha….ha…

Currently we’ve been setting up to do a nice street side installation for July
(mystery location to be revealed soon), and this Saturday visitors at the Museum of Inuit Art can
check out some cozified podiums as part of the MIA’s Worldwide Knit in Public Day (WWKiP)
programming. We’ve also installed some of our bright and colourful pieces in a
special public exhibition case designed to showcase the talented knit creations
community members have created.

So as iSchool faculty and students gather at University College this afternoon, patting one another
on the back in congratulations (or fist pumping if you’re bros) I too want to extend an
enormous “WE DID IT!” to fellow classmates and instructors.

There were so many people who went above and beyond their defined roles and responsibilities.
Countless time I’ve stepped back  in order to reflect on what the heck has been accomplished
in such a relatively short period of time, and it blows me away everytime.

Never in a million years would I have thought that so many people would be interested
in the dorky things I write about let alone ask to be a part of it. And none of this would have been
possible without the continuous encouragement from those around me.

So a heartfelt, Thank for supporting my crazy ramblings and bizarre projects!
I sincerely couldn’t have done it without you!

Crochet graduation cap.

Behind the Seams: AGO 1st Thursday!

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 WHAHOOOO!!!!! We did it guys!

The Art Gallery of Ontario has officially been yarn bombed!

*fist pumps entire installation crew

We are so incredibly grateful to everyone who contributed to
this amazing experience. From all the wonderful people who sent
us along yarn, lent us a car to transport everything to the gallery,
and handed over their time to do some super fast last minute darning.

A special shout out also goes to some of the OCAD students who invited us to join the
evenings festivities in the first place. Simone was the perfect host, checking
in to see if we needed anything, escorting our team members around,
and offering to help unload installation equipment even though our
surprisingly light bundles of hexagons looked like they weight tonnes.
And our main contact, Jon, definitely deserves a pat on the back after
all the changes that were made throughout the prep process and for
working out a few kinks. Some of you might recall that originally we were
set to install on the Walker Court stairs, and were moved to the snake ramp at
the main  lobby doors. In the end  there was one last adjustment and the Gallery
Italia space turned out to be a terrific way to bring the street art movement into
the gallery while watching Toronto’s latest snow storm unfold.

The Bissell Bombers also wanted to give a shoutout to AGO security and assorted staff.
We know we must have looked a little odd with our multicoloured rib
wrappings, but your curiosity about the project kept us motivated and
your sense of humour made the 4-hour install fly-by.

And since the event was for one night only and the show sold out incredibly fast,
we wanted to post a few photos for those who couldn’t make it out.
So enjoy our Behind the Seams shots as we prepared for the big night 🙂

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Measure twice, darn once.

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All set to go as we wait for the ladder to come up from the ‘AGO’ sign up front.

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Teamwork, a little ingenuity and a lot of temporary zip ties.

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Putting the last finishing touches on the flower garland as the LEDs are activated!

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Forget being “Facebook Official”, you know you’ve made it when you’re given your own interpretive text panel and program 🙂

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The big reveal!
Our secret identities are exposed as two
Bissell Bombers pose with their biggest collaborative piece to date.

To hear more about the project and some of  the other installation pieces
that were on display that night, be sure to check out Christopher Jones article for TO Live with Culture.
And you can make your own dance party by visiting A Tribe Called Reds amazing play list.

Project Shoutout: One More Sleep!

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Two months,
Dozens of posts,
HUNDREDS of hexagons,
One.More.Sleep

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

As we put the finishing touches on our pre-installation-
totally-organized-and-ready-to-go yarnbomb for the AGO’s 1st Thursday event
we wanted to post one last photo glut to thank all those donors who
snuck in at the last second with their knit  works.

And to get you in the mood for the Thursday par-tay, the AGO and OCAD students
have organized An Evening With A Tribe Called Red TONIGHT!
Details are on the Facebook page, and who knows… maybe if you
come  you’ll catch a glimpse of the Bissell Bombers and a
few other artists that will be featured on Thursday…
Just sayin’

So before we start posting things like, how we’re going to cover the AGO
(and a new location we’re being given) and the shenanigans we’re bound to get into
during the event, it’s time to take one last look at your individual handy work
before it becomes a fabulous collective of community crocheted craziness!

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Project Shoutout: Laura J.

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Eermahgerd! Eermahgerd! Eermahgerd!
The AGO 1st Thursday show is almost here!!!

YAAAYYYY!!!!

We are so excited for the big event, so excited that we have neglected to
update you all on the amazing things that came out of
our desperate donation drive.

So here we go,  our last big photo glut pre-install.

First up, we have some lovely flowers to go on…
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Laura J. has been providing the group with a series of leafy greens
for almost a month now. I’ve been a bit of a bad blogger and taken
an unfortunately long amount of time in finally displaying my
adoration for her publicly.

But no more! A tip of the hat and a Bissell Bomber  SHOUTout to Laura J.
who has been an active contributor to the project on Facebook, with her
cute little links and stories, and her kind donation of pattern books
(with the doubly generous offer of passing them along to potential
yarn bombers if they are looking for inspiration).

THANKS LAURA J.!
We  hope to see you at the big show THIS Thursday at the Art Gallery of Ontario!
Woot! Woot!

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