Yesterday I fulfilled a long held ambition to do some knit graffiti on the streets of Birmingham.
Our little knitting hootenanny was originally inspired by the work of Knitta Please. Credited with starting the knit graffiti movement Knitta Please started tagging their local environment with pieces of knitting. When I saw my first Knitta image I knew that I wanted to do some here in Brum.
The years passed (yes years), I talked about doing some knit graffiti but never seemed to find the time to actually get it done. My inspiration was a conversation I had with Sam Underwood at a party in January. He told me that he was taking a year long sabbatical to concentrate on his music and to work on those ideas that you never quite find the time for when working. I thought, if Sam could give up work for a year, I could get my arse in gear to do some knit graffiti.
So I put a call out to the Facebook group, rounded up the ladies who helped with the knit graffiti event at The Public and went in to town with my notebook and tape measure.
I originally thought that the Bullring would make an excellent target. Large public statue – check, lots of street furniture – check, iconic building that could do with some wool love – check and double check. I sent out my measurements to everyone and we started knitting. Just a couple of weeks before our installation date a large set of hoardings went up at the Bullring cutting off many of our identified targets. A small spanner in the works but we weren’t going to let that get in our way.
So yesterday morning I got up at 5am and met the group to tag. We started off at the Bullring Bull. We hadn’t been there more than 15mins when a security guard came out to tell us to stop as we were on private property. When we explained what we were doing hoping he’d let us get on our merry way, I was told that the Bullring owners, Hammerson “wouldn’t like this kind of thing”.
The security guard tried to make me delete my photos on my camera. When I refused, I was told that publishing the photos would make be liable. Now I understand that vandalism is a punishable offence but surely a piece of removable knitted graffiti doesn’t count as vandalism. It was clear that the security guard was going to stick to his rule book, so we took our pieces and left.
At this point we were disheartened, we’d all spent a lot of time making our pieces and now they wouldn’t see the light of day. So we rallied and decided that Birmingham wasn’t just the Bullring, there was a whole city centre to find new homes for our pieces.
We walked the city centre streets and tagged what we could find – St Phillips Cathedral grounds, Union St, postboxes, road signs and Waterloo St. Our pièce de résistance was tagging ‘The River’ better known as Floozy in the Jacuzzi.
After 2 hours we’d used up all our pieces. There was only 1 thing left to do – head back to mine for a celebratory bacon sandwich whilst we looked through photos of our exploits.
And now you can have a look too.
I would like to say a MASSIVE thank you to everyone who made pieces and installed – Sara Nicklin, Emily McDonough-Scott, Amanda Lawrence, Beccy Lawrence, Sarah Bett, Rebecca Emery. And finally to Sam – thanks for giving me the inspiration to get on and do it