It’s a warmer, fuzzier form of street art.
Like graffiti, yarn-bombing involves saturating walls, light poles and park benches with bright colors and patterns. But the knitted and crocheted art that is the “paint” is temporary and doesn’t damage its impromptu canvas.
The Roseville Visitors Association recently commissioned a yarn-bombing of the city’s outdoor ice arena by a Minneapolis fiber artist who goes by the moniker Knitteapolis. The official reveal at the Guidant John Rose MN Oval will take place at 7:15 p.m. Friday, coinciding with “OVALumination,” the city’s annual holiday lighting celebration. It’ll be on display through the winter holidays.
The idea is to draw attention to the city’s marquee ice arena.
“It seemed like a good fit — knitting warm fuzzies and getting into the holiday spirit,” said Carrie Ford, director of sales and marketing for the Roseville Visitors Association. “It’s definitely vibrant. It’s great how she reached out to her followers to have them donate swatches to be part of the display. She received pieces all the way from Australia.”
Yarn-bombing has become an international movement that aims to spread cheer. Fiber artists, who usually prefer to work anonymously, target public places — trees, streetlight poles, park benches, bike racks and statues.
The art form feels like a comfortable fit in Minnesota, known both for its crisp weather and love of crafts.
Knitteapolis is an actor and artist in her 20s who also teaches knitting at the Boys & Girls Club in Minneapolis. She’s known to wear a disguise — a knitted beard — when she is hanging her exhibits. “It’s more fun that way, and a more interesting conversation,” she said.
Knitteapolis said she started doing yarn-bombing as a lark, and within a year it became a full-time business.
“It was funny and whimsical and goofy,” she said. “It was a random act of kindness to put art out into the world.”
When companies and groups started requesting yarn-bombing displays, she quit her full-time job as a restaurant manager to keep up with demand. Her biggest clients have been Roseville and the Mall of America.
Late this year, she’ll yarn-bomb Creative Kidstuff in St. Paul and the Minneapolis shop StevenBe.
Knitteapolis said artists in other states have complained that their work gets quickly torn down, but here, her work stays up. In fact, passers-by often tack up flagging bits, she said.
Even police officers who go by her projects stop to chat or give her a thumbs-up, she said.
Creating the works at home is fun, too, she said.
“It’s nice to sit down and knit while you are watching TV or a movie. At the end of the movie, you’ve got a scarf in your lap,” she said. “I am fully addicted. I love knitting.”