Recently two friends in the San Francisco Bay Area, neither of whom is a knitter or crocheter, emailed me news items about yarn bombers. One article was recent and looked at yarn bombers in Scotland; the other article was a few years old about yarn bombers in Oakland, California.
The Huffington Post, calling her the “world’s oldest street artist,” focused on Scotland’s 104 year old Grace Brett who, as part of the Souter Stormers, yarn stormed (yarn bombed) in Selkirk, Ettrickbridge and Yarrow:
Grace Brett is part of a group of “yarn stormers” who are taking to the streets to showcase their craft. As part of a week-long arts festival in Scotland, Brett and the Souter Stormers knitted and crocheted dozens of pieces to display across three cities. Among the pieces were a bench covering, a cover for a classic British red phone booth and various other hanging ornaments — all of which spruced up the city with colorful yarn.
The UK’s Daily Record called Mrs. Brett and the Souter Stormers “guerrilla knitters.” Scotland’s The Press and Journal referred to Mrs. Brett as part of a “secret band of guerrilla knitters.” (Given the interview with Mrs. Brett and the very public nature of their group, I don’t think “secret” was the right word to use.)
Of the Oakland yarn bombers, the San Francisco Chronicle dramatically reported:
Rogue knitters encamped along the Berkeley-Oakland border with lawn chairs, tea cakes and knitting projects to protest the city of Berkeley’s order that they remove an 8-foot knitted tea cozy they sewed over the T in a public sculpture they believe insults Oakland.
“Rogue?” Did the author not have a dictionary? In what dishonest or unprincipled behavior were the knitters engaging?! Well, maybe the mask-wearing knitter inspired the author to use that particular term. (A more educated and nuanced analysis would be to focus on the use of what has traditionally been in “women’s domain” in a political protest – as women have done many times in our history.)
I like the U.K. journalists’ terminology: Guerrilla Knitters & Crocheters! (Perhaps the Guerrilla Girls will consider granting Mrs. Brett honorary membership in their group.)
What do you think: Guerrillas or rogues?!