Yesterday I spent all day sewing pieces of knitting onto a large bronze bull. Why? Because I’d been commissioned by the Bullring to do so. Below lies the tale…
In April myself and a small group of knitters from Stitches and Hos tried to cover parts of the Bullring with knit graffiti. Within 10mins of tagging the bull, 2 security guards came out and told us to leave. We ended up putting our pieces around the city centre instead (more info here). However, I still wanted to knit graffiti the Bullring. That place was still on the list. I knew that I’d have to go back, I just didn’t know how or when.
On 25 October I received an email from Lola Ralph through the Stitches and Hos website. She had seen the groups previous knit graffiti exploits and thought we might be interested in decorating the Bullring Bull for Christmas. I thought that all of my knit graffiti Christmas’ had come at once.
We set up a meeting to discuss ideas and came up with making the Bull a Christmas jumper. There was however one small catch. The work had to be done by 1st December. Just over a month…
Before I accepted the commission I put out a call to everyone who had taken part or expressed an interest in our knit graffiti. There was no way that I was going to be able to do this alone. Once I’d found out if anyone was available to help me I went to measure the bull. It was at this point I realised the enormity of what needed to be done. His neck was 238cm around, his body was 250cm long and he was 367cm around his waist.What a beast.
So I set about devising a pattern and a way to make the work. I also started shopping for wool. The budget was really tight so I needed to be canny about what wool we could use. I’d been given a colour pallette by the Bullring which I needed to adhere to and I’d agreed to include a sparkly collar to make the jumper more festive. Mikayla at Fibre Flurry in Kings Norton came to my rescue. So wool was ordered and a pattern devised. All we had to do was knit more than 12m² in just over 3 weeks.
The 3 weeks flew by and everyone worked really hard to ensure that all the pieces were finished in time. Yesterday I went with Vickie, Lilith, Helen and Emily with a suitcase full of knitting to sew it all together.
I hadn’t really thought about what a stir we would cause whilst we were installing. There was a constant stream of questions and comments from shoppers and passers by. Most people seemed cheered by his new attire, although there were some people who didn’t like it.
Here are a few pictures of the piece being installed taken by Rhiannon Davies.
I cannot thank the team enough, it really wouldn’t have been possible without you. Vickie, Emily, Helen, Lilith, Rhiannon, Nicola, Natalie, Sharon and Sam I salute you. Also big thanks to Katja for documenting the install, Mikayla at Fibre Flurry for doing a Saturday morning dash to Leeds to make sure we had the wool on time, support and much needed encouragement from everyone in Wardrobe at Birmingham Royal Ballet especially Lorna and finally extra special thanks to Matt who double checked my sums and believed I could do it.