PE pier is yarn-bombed

Gillian McAinsh

THE Eastern Cape has been yarn-bombed for the first time, with a giant letter “M” dressed in neon knitwear appearing first at Shark Rock Pier and then at the pyramid on the Donkin Reserve in Port Elizabeth.

Although controversial artist Brett Murray recently saw one of his works yarn-bombed, this is the first time the public art craze has hit the Friendly City.

Yarn bombing, also known as guerrilla, urban or graffiti knitting is a type of street art featuring colourful displays of knitted or crocheted yarn or fibre.

“We are very happy to be a part of this global initiative,” said Mohair SA marketing coordinator Anlé Marais, adding that the big “M” would surface at various spots around Port Elizabeth over the next three weeks.

Next weekend it will be the turn of the Kirkwood Wildlife Festival to be hit by craftzillas with pop-up knitting groups gathering to click their needles and create a cheerful wave of wool.

The brainchild of Mohair SA, the “M” was commissioned in celebration of International Yarn Bombing Day held earlier this month.

“This is the first time that Port Elizabeth has been yarn-bombed, and because we used African Expressions mohair yarn for the installation, it puts mohair on the map,” Marais said.

Internationally, the yarn-bomb movement is attributed to Houston-based Magda Sayeg, who covered her boutique door handle with a custom- made cozy in 2005.

People loved it, and the movement took off as a quirky way to reclaim and personalise sterile or cold public places.

Since then, it has morphed into making political statements and The Spear artist Murray saw one of his artworks, a sculpture of Bart Simpson in St George’s Mall in Cape Town, yarn-bombed last month.

“This yarn bomb is my way of showing support for the arts today,” said the guerrilla knitter responsible, who has covered several surfaces in the Mother City with her wacky woollen wonders.

Dutch trend forecaster Li Edelkoort spoke about the surge in knitting at the Design Indaba held recently in Cape Town.

Earlier this year, a mysterious urban knitter in Yorkshire attached a 45m Olympics-themed scarf to a Victorian pier, featuring woollen athletes in various events.

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