Yarn Bombing: Meet the Woman Whose Knitting Spun a Global Movement
This article recently appeared in StyleBluPrint Birmingham
Have you noticed a statue in your city covered in knitting? Or perhaps some trees, or a stop sign? This is known as yarn bombing and Magda Sayeg, a globally recognized textile artist, is known as the mother of yarn bombing. This Texas-born gal has an important message for many women that goes well beyond the joy and wonder that her art installations provoke. “Not everyone gets to have the conventional life … You can come from dark places and you can come out shining.” Get to know Magda better today. We promise you’ll laugh, feel inspired and be grateful for her poignant advice!
When did you start knitting?
Oh, maybe 15 or 16 to make a scarf for a then-boyfriend. We broke up before it was finished! Later, there was this renaissance in the whole DIY and knitting movement. I would have wine on Tuesday nights with women. I knew how to knit, but the process took a long time. That first door knob? That took about three minutes. It was fast and quickly satisfying and I started doing more. A handful of friends did it with me. We were a crew … those humble beginnings. We would say that we were a knitting circle that wasn’t knitting baby blankets.
What happened to that crew?
Different people had their own ideas and vision. I decided that I wanted this to be a solo pursuit and build out my own vision. Yes, I had people helping me out as friends. I believed in this and I saw the magic. I wanted to take it seriously. I got a business manager because it’s responsible to know that you can’t handle all of this. Do what you do best.
Tell me about how you started the concept of yarn bombing … and am I using the right term?
When I woke up and decided to put knitting on the door handle of my boutique, there was no name. I never came up with any of the names used to describe this. It was others who coined me the mother of yarn bombing. The name … it implies that it’s unsanctioned — which is how we started. It is renegade. It empowers the individual. Technically that is different than an art installation, which is what I’m now commissioned to do. But, I get why people still say “yarn bombing” instead of “art installation.” It had an edgy tone to it, but it’s really not accurate.
I recently saw an entire city block that was “yarn bombed” in Columbia, South Carolina. How would I know if this was yarn bombing or a sanctioned art installation?
Most likely it was sanctioned. When something is done at that level, where you can tell it took coordination on many levels … usually somebody approved something.