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Post-Soviet Graffiti

Yarn-Bombing Across the Atlantic

Post-Soviet Graffiti July 4, 2011 10 Comments on Yarn-Bombing Across the Atlantic

Yarn-Bombing in Old Town. 2 July 2011. Riga, Latvia. (Photo: Alexis Zimberg).

While exploring the back-alleys of Old Town Riga, I spotted street art’s coziest new trend – Yarn-Bombing.

A New York Times article published in May of this year noted the global phenomenon of Yarn-Bombing, a warm and fuzzy art form in which artists anonymously outfit public statues or objects with one-of-a-kind, knitted outer wear. The Fashion Section special – titled “Creating Graffiti With Yarn” – showcases Philidelphia resident-artist Jessie Hemmons. The art of painting on walls is traditionally a male-dominated realm, Hemmons explains. “Yarn bombing takes that most matronly craft (knitting) and that most maternal of gestures (wrapping something cold in a warm blanket) and transfers it to the concrete and steel wilds of the urban streetscape.”

Just as gangs of graffiti artists often gather to form crews, yarn-bombers increasingly seem to define themselves as unified with tagging cohorts. Yet, the art form remains illicit, leading the taggers to act quickly, to wear “ninja black,” and to attack at night.

Sure, Yarn-Bombing may not reflect the region’s highly-politicized sentiment traditionally highlighted by this project. Nevertheless, it’s pretty adorable and hopefully will inspire some knitters out there – from the Eastern Seaboard to the Baltic trio – to  “get off your rockers and knit.”

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10 Comments

  1. Anonymous July 12, 2011 at 12:53 am

    This is really cool/interesting!

    • Tawar June 23, 2012 at 12:11 am

      What a fabulous laoitocn to shoot at! I think there is a place like that around here, but I don’t know where exactly. Guess I need to do more scouting Amazing work as always!

  2. Ashley July 12, 2011 at 12:54 am

    This is really cool/interesting!

  3. Anonymous December 3, 2011 at 7:29 am

    This is actually a yarn store located in Riga’s Old Town.

    • PostSovietGraffiti December 3, 2011 at 1:46 pm

      Hi Anonymous! Thanks for posting. Yep, we caught that it was a yarn shop but wanted to highlight a recent trend that likely inspired this type of display. Thanks for reading and hope to hear from you again soon!

      • Anastasia March 15, 2013 at 12:38 am

        We’ve still had no luck with the tagged Mayo bdniuilgs, with more than one councilor supposedly trying to prod Mayo to do something. I wouldn’t but it would be so tempting to just convince a tagger to scrawl something disparaging about Mayo near the other tags on their properties just to get them to pay attention and paint over all of them. Well, I’m running out of reasonable options.

  4. streetcolor May 7, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    This is a beautiful picture and a great description of yarnbombing . Fascinating blog-you don’t get much inthe west about street art in post soviet countries. Than you ! streetcolor

  5. PostSovietGraffiti June 21, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Hey! Thanks for your comment. We love yarn bombing. And keep checking in – we’ll look for more yarn bombing for you (I think I have another pic from Budapest).

  6. Vlado March 17, 2013 at 11:19 am

    This looks like such fun! I’m slowly cgnnhiag my mind about yarn bombing (which I’ve mostly thought about as meh for a while), because it seems to be just the thing to bring a little light and joy into the day.

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