No, you’re not having a 1960s flashback if you cruise by CAFAM and feel the three-story building is vibrating hippie granny-squares. This week the public art group “Yarn Bombers LA” attached 8,000 five-inch crocheted yarn squares to the Mid-Wilshire museum facade.
Donated by 500 crafters from 25 countries, each little square was stitched together, then these larger pieces stretched across the architecture of the CAFAM building. “Screeching brakes are not uncommon,” said CAFAM’s Marisela Norte. “People stopping in their tracks.“ Norte describes the reaction of passing motorists and pedestrians.
The project was conceived as a way to highlight the contribution of women which is often subjugated to “low art” or “craft” with a derogatory connotation. This façade project follows on the heels of a performance last month in the CAFAM window, where an apparently nude woman wove simple clothing for herself for 12 hours straight to illustrate the amount of effort actually going into low-paying women’s factory work.
The personal tales behind the donated granny-squares are just as warm-and-fuzzy as the huge quilt. The project began in October when Yarn Bombers put out a call on Facebook and other websites asking for donations of 6,000 five-inch granny squares in certain proscribed colors. Eight months later 15,000 squares had been received from all points of the globe. Hundreds a day. A neurologist in rural Turkey had integrated the crochet project in her patients’ physical therapy. Squares from Iranian crafters got to the U.S. circuitously – carried from traveler’s suitcase to traveler’s suitcase because of mail sanctions. And L.A. Braille Institute instructors guided their students’ hands so they could participate in the crochet project. Those are just a few of the back-stories. So many pieces were received that the organizers had to turn to a structural engineer formerly associated with famous artist Yayoi Kusuma, to design a supporting armature.
In a separate display in the CAFAM gallery, some samples have been picked out to illustrate the wild variety of squares that were received on the same granny-square theme. (You think you know what a granny-square is, but you don’t!). Special placement around the museum doorway was given to what became known as the “outlier squares”– those renegade squares made by people who totally ignored the rules (even K-N-I-T-T-E-D squares were donated to the colossal crochet project).
Most onlookers are aghast at the amount of work that went into each-and-every hand-stitch. “We can’t believe it’s a tapestry!” Some have even suggested that the big quilt be dipped in resin to preserve it forever. The façade covering will be removed on July 1st but will live on through a new partnership with the Downtown Women’s Center, a transitional-housing complex. Yarn Bombers will donate sections of the quilt and the remaining 7,000 unused squares to DWC, — and teach the homeless women to crochet simple items to sell in the DWC boutique called “MADE.” CAFAM will in turn carry DWC product in their own shop. “Nothing will go to waste,” per Yarn Bomber’s Arzu Arda Kosar. Women helping women. Wrap up in that cozy notion.Craft and Folk Art Museum May 25-July 1, 2013 5814 Wilshire Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90036 Opening reception for the installation is May 25 from 7pm-9pm, and is open to the public for $12. Admission: FREE on the first Wednesday of every month Regularly: $7 for adults; $5 for students, seniors, and veterans Hours: Tuesday – Friday, 11:00am – 5:00pm; Saturday/Sunday, 12:00pm – 6:00pm; closed Mondays. Museum Tours: For group tour information, call 323-937-4230 Ext. 28.
Larchmont Buzz: Miracle Mile About to be Yarn-bombed
Website – Yard Bombing Los Angeles.com
Website – CAFAM