The Mystery of the Yarn Bombed Bear
I solved a mystery. I did. It is the mystery of the Griffith Park bear’s new clothes. For those of you who don’t know, at the entrance to Griffith Park on the Los Feliz Blvd and Fern Dell Park Dr. in Los Feliz, CA stands the statute of a bear cub as seen in the picture. And though I was told I can tell, I have decided to explain the mystery and let the individual and her friends come forward if he or she so chooses.
I am not sure what the law says about this mystery and well, I’ve decided to protect the innocent who are just trying to make my neighborhood more festive. So why describe the mystery and not reveal the final secret? Because the mystery itself reveals a form of public decoration new to this writer, and perhaps new to you: yarn bombing.
Wikipedia defines “yarn bombing” as “a type of graffiti or street art that employs colorful displays of knitted or crocheted cloth rather than paint or chalk.” It is harmless in that it can be easily removed though it also has pretty good staying power. It is also referred to as “graffiti knitting, guerrilla knitting, or yarnstorming.”
I was informed that the practice is British, however according to an article in the British newspaper “The Telegraph”the practice actually was born in the US.
The practice of yarn bombing has been performed by single professional artists, such as sculpture Dave Cole from Providence in Massachusetts, and groups of knitters like Knit the City in Britain. Apparently it has been a rather significant movement in London. There is also a blog devoted to the subject and a book. What makes yarn bombing an art and not graffiti? Well just check out the sites linked in this article.
For the most part yarn bombing is done to call attention to public spaces otherwise ignored, or as a way to reclaim those places for the people. What do you think of the bear and his clothes or the tree and its hearts?