10 Most Incredible Vehicle Yarn Bombs

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Posted in Inspiring by on February 5th, 2013

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If you’ve yet to hear of yarn bombing – also known as graffiti, guerrilla or urban knitting – it’s high time for a closer look at this soft and fuzzy form of street art. Graffiti per se is often created as a comment on social issues or as a form of territorial marking, but yarn bombing was initially carried out to reclaim and add a bit of personality to our otherwise gray cities – and hopefully make people smile in the process!

Around the world, knitters with attitude are covering the cold concrete and steel of our urban landscapes with colorful yarn. Some of the pieces produced are commissioned, but others are created in the dead of night, by crafters clothed in ninja black.

There have been many iconic works of yarn bombing in the relatively small number of years since it burst onto the street art scene, but few have caught our eye like these – all of which show vehicles that have fallen prey to yarn bombers’ crafty ways!

10. Airplane

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This retired Whitehorse DC-3 plane is a fine indicator of how yarn bombing is taking flight worldwide. The plane, which sits outside the Yukon Transportation Museum in Canada, was covered in fuzzy yarn on August 11, 2012 by Yarn Bomb Yukon (YBY).

YBY love to pair up with non-profit organizations, so when museum curator Casey McLaughlin got in touch to ask about them “bombing” the WWII airplane, they went all out. It took 100 people to pull it off, with different volunteers knitting and crocheting almost 2,500 square feet of material. Yarn bomb groups from as far away as Texas made donations to the project! And best of all, when the plane was disrobed, the woolen pieces were cleaned and given to the homeless as blankets.

9. Smart Car

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People yarn bomb for different reasons – from making others smile to communicating more challenging and even confrontational messages. However, for yarn bomber Magda Sayeg, from Houston, Texas, covering the handle of her boutique shop with a knitted cozy has blossomed into a career, and she now takes on commissioned work all over the world. She knitted the Smart car pictured here in Rome, as part of her participation in an art festival called II Lusso Essenziale in summer 2010.

It’s impossible to delve far into the world of yarn bombing without coming across Sayeg’s name, as she is considered the mother of the art form. Even so, she isn’t the only artist to have covered a Smart car in wool. Donna Rutledge-Okoro also yarn bombed one to make it resemble a colorful fish. Rutledge-Okoro’s version was on display in September 2012 at the Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama.

8. Motorcycle

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If it isn’t Smart cars, it’s motorcycles! This one was covered in delicate pink by artist Theresa Honeywell in 2006, and it went on display at the Georgia Museum of Art that same year. Hailing from Washington D.C., Honeywell started out in sculpture, but she soon grew interested in the imagery of tattoos as well as the intriguing topic of gender. She uses knitting (generally considered a feminine pastime) to cover macho icons – thus often completely changing the way in which such objects are perceived.

Honeywell says her work raises questions about the nature of art, society’s accepted gender norms, and the gap between so-called “high” and “low” culture. And as the motorcycle shows, considerable effort goes into creating her intricate pieces.

7. Bus

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This bus was yarn bombed in Mexico City in November 2008 and is probably one of Magda Sayeg’s better-known works. In an interview with CNN, Sayeg said that the bus really helped her career to take off and put yarn bombing in the spotlight. It took her and five other members of her graffiti knit group, Knittaplease, seven days to finish.

Since then, yarn bombing has exploded in terms of the mainstream interest it generates. As street artists get increasingly creative with different materials, the field of graffiti has opened up to include much more than cans of spray paint. As well as wool, artists have used everything from LED lighting to actual moss to make amazing pieces.

6. Boat

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Created by yarn bomb group Knitiffi in 2011, the “Good Ship Knit” was covered in fuzz in Saltford, England and later sailed to Bristol. The group’s mission is to make the world a happier place through their own cozy version of global warming. And upon reaching Bristol, the knitters set up chairs on the harborside and got loads of public attention. They even covered the harbor railings with blue yarn and dangling fish.

The group’s other activities have included dressing a multitude of statues in cloaks, sweaters and hats – with figures bombed ranging from Italian explorer John Cabot, to actor Cary Grant, to Queen Victoria herself!

5. Food Cart

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This food cart was yarned up to awesome effect in the summer of 2012 by Knitta Taiwan and Magda Sayeg. Sayeg sure gets around! The team did a lovely job of adding more color to the street food cart, which is normally employed selling an appetizing dish called pork blood pudding cake. Yarn bombing, it seems, knows no bounds.

Lisa Kennedy, publicist of yarn bomber Donna Rutledge-Okoro, thinks that the work of these innovative artists shows just how many possibilities there are to be creative. “They can take an idea and with some effort and tenacity, achieve it,” she says.

4. Tractor

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This tractor – complete with miniature farm animals calmly chewing the cud – was a collaborative project organized by yarn bombing collective Yarn Corner. The collective has members from across the globe, and those who aren’t Melbourne-based can mail their pieces to the group. The tractor covering was created for the Yarn Corner’s installation at the Royal Melbourne Show in 2012. They also yarn bombed a few trees, adding color there too.

Helen Caldwell joined the group a few months before the show and contributed some knitting. One of the most exciting aspects of it for her was being part of something big that many people contributed to and feeling connected to others through the craft.

3. Pickup Truck

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Remember Yarn Bomb Yukon and the DC-3 airplane? This same group decided to yarn bomb this 1969 GMC 4×4 pickup in July 2012, as a run-up to the big daddy. The collective hadn’t carried out any yarn bombs on such a scale before this, and doing the pickup gave them a chance to test the yarns and learn the best ways to tie it all together. They also wanted to figure out whether different kinds of yarn, including glitter, cotton and felted wool, would have negative effects on the body of the pickup – whose name, in case you were wondering, happens to be Lenore. A pretty name for a pretty truck!

2. Bicycle

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This bicycle was covered in crochet by famed Polish artist Agata Oleksiak, who goes by the name Olek. Unlike most of the other folks on this list, Olek takes issue with the term “yarn bombing.” Her work, she states, is art – so don’t compare it to an urban version of your grandmother’s doilies!

Olek has crocheted everything from people, to swimming pools, to London creative center the Village Underground – the latter with a banner that read, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” For Olek, the work she does is about making statements and confronting inequality. It is, according to her bio on Facebook, about “re-weaving the world as she sees fit.”

1. Tank

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This WWII tank was the subject of another socially conscious work of yarn art. The vehicle’s transformation into a shade of fuzzy pink, complete with a pom-pom on the end of the gun barrel, came about thanks to the imaginative genius of Danish artist Marianne Joergensen. Joergensen coordinated the creation of the tank blanket in 2006, as a protest against the war in Iraq. Volunteers helped to knit nearly 4,000 squares and sew and crochet them together onto the armored fighting vehicle, which sat in front of Copenhagen’s Nikolaj Contemporary Art Center. Proof, if it were needed, that some of the strongest statements can be made using the softest of materials.

Bonus: R2-D2

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R2-D2 might not be the first idea that pops into your head when someone says the word “vehicle.” But even though it’s a concrete bollard, rather than, say, a car or bike, that’s actually been bombed, we point out that little Artoo himself is mobile. Besides, he’s just too awesome not to include! The knitted droid was fashioned by yarn bomber Sarah Rudder and placed in a drab section of Bellingham, Washington. The creation required a bit of geometrical math, not to mention 1,200 yards of yarn.

R2-D2 made his debut on June 8, 2012, just in time for International Yarn Bombing Day (held on June 9). Rudder removed the slipcover shortly afterward to make modifications, generating some negative opinion that this was not true street art but instead was created more for the photos. Still, kudos to her for pulling off everyone’s favorite Star Wars robot character!

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