The other day, Betsy Greer posted this image on her Facebook page, asking for thoughts:
One commenter mentioned that she felt that yarn bombs don’t have the impact they once did, and asked “Maybe the question needs to be: how can public craft be innovative and unexpected now?”
This has got me thinking about street craft and people out there doing things other than cosies on trees. Don’t get me wrong, I think that yarn bombing still has merit in an urban environment, it encourages people to use the skills they have to customise their environment, and it’s a low barrier to entry to the world of street art.
However there are many examples of street craft out there that aren’t yarn bombing and I thought I’d look at a couple today.
In 2008 I was walking down Hozier Lane, arguably Melbourne’s most famous street art lane, and I came across this (by artist Happy) attached to the second story window of a building (Photo by Rayna Faye)
This was the first time I’d seen craft in the wild and I loved it. I was really excited to see it, sitting proudly alongside huge colourful graffiti and stencils by some of the most well known artists from here and around the world. I’d always loved street art, but I can’t paint or draw for the life of me. This, here, was someone using skills and processes I use, to make work on the streets. Suddenly my world opened up and I realised that street craft was something I could also do, it was a way that I participate in the urban art culture.
We’ll start with Deadly Knitshade, the beloved graffiti knitter from London
Other traditional crafts out in the wild include cross stitching, which itself perfectly to the public realm, be it small like a single figure presewn and attached like this piece by Miss CrossStitch
to a larger protest message sewn across a fence from Rayna Faye (click on the link for the entire story)
A less well known street craft practice is street origami. These have been appearing through Paris by the talented Mademoiselle Maurice
and Paige Smith’s paper project Urban Geode street art installations have shot around the world via the internet.
Continuing the ‘street art from stationary’ theme,
Mark Jenkins creates life sized transparent human figures from sticky tape and cling wrap.
I wouldn’t have thought it would survive long, but even paper mache can be used for street art, this monster is by Pones.
One of my favourite street artists is Junky Projects from Melbourne, who creates little anthropomorphised figures from garbage in the streets and nails them to posts, tiny guardians reminding people that what they throw away stays around forever.
Slinkachu makes tiny satirical dioramas on the street by modifying tiny pre-purchased miniatures from train sets.
The Pothole Gardener also makes tiny dioramas on the street
Melbourne street artist Psalm is known for his wide variety of styles and media but in the past has incorporated furniture into his works which can be viewed as 3d public craft. (Photo from www.flickr.com/photos/rpt/9645416/)
Another Melbourne street artist, Be Free, uses furniture and collaged props for her little stenciled girl (photo from www.invurt.com/2011/05/24/interview-fibre-femmes-be-free/)
Space Invader in a French artist who mosacs aliens from the original Space Invader computer game to walls around the world
Mal Content utalises a ceramics background to create small imp or gargoyle like faces which he attaches to poles and walls in the street
Continuing the ceramic theme, Debbie Harman has an ongoing project called Filling the Cracks with Conversation, in which she secures tiny ceramic conversations to cracks in walls and pavements around Victoria, Australia
Will Coles is a Sydney artist who works in cast concrete sculptures, examining current cultural trends in ironic and disturbing ways (photo author’s own)
See Me Tell Me is a New York street artist who makes tiny resin sculptures and paper collages to leave out for people to find and take –
That’s a short round up of some artists working in various craft media on the streets. Do shout out if you know of others!
All images come from the artists’ websites unless otherwise stated, and all copyright stays with the owners of the photos