WOOLEN GRAFFITI – KNITWEAR FOR OUR STREETS


A new trend is taking on the streets of Berlin – knitwear for trees, fences and lanterns. We discovered a few of these so called woolen graffitis and wanted to know more about them. More warmth on our streets - that is the intention of the knitting artists. This new trend has its origin in the Unites States and is also known as Yarn Bombing or Guerilla Knitting. They make our streets more colorful and unlike the graffiti with spray paint, they do not destroy anything. All around: park benches, statues and memorials get beautiful colored coats, which puts a smile on the face of every observer, or even forces us to think about it as the knitwear can also be used as a political statement. We met the wool graffiti artist Patricia Montag to find out more about this new street art. 

For the last three years, Patricia has been making woolen art in Berlin, and all over the world. Her inspiration comes from the places she visits. She usually looks for a special place in our mother city and then thinks about a piece of art she can knit or crochet for it. She crafts the pieces at home and then goes back to the place to mount it. A woolen graffiti always attracts attention and can make one look at a place from a different perspective, even though the place has been seen a thousand times before. The place also helps to find the knitwear. Patricia always puts the pictures of her works on her website and the number of her art admirers is growing rapidly.

The idea to decorate the city with wool grew out of a school project. As a substitute teacher, Patricia took on a creativity course and gave her students a number of choices to become creative. Surprisingly most of them wanted to learn how to knit and the long term project ‘Wool Graffiti’ started. Even after Patricia left the course, she continued to make wool graffitis to make public places prettier. She created a website, so she could upload photos of her graffitis. This kept her former students up to date and motivated them to continue knitting. Slowly, and almost without even noticing, Patricia became part of this worldwide new art movement. 

Patricia calls her works woolen graffitis giving the known term guerilla knitting a broader meaning. The pieces are not always knitted, they can also be crochet, which can be done a bit faster than knitting and this can sometimes be essential. Not all guerilla knitters are working like Patricia. Some do their work on location and in groups. Some even do it at night, because they do not want to be seen and like to stay anonymous, or maybe they don’t dare to mount their works during daylight. In the beginning, Patricia was a bit shy to install her works in public, but soon she became very confident and now she even installs them with the police watching her. She does not have to worry about a thing; wool does not harm anything or anybody. 

For Patricia, making woolen art is also a way to meet people and to get in touch with them. If she had stayed anonymous, she would have missed the many opportunities to talk to total strangers. So she always leaves a little card on her woolen street art piece. That way people can contact her and ask her questions or just give their opinion on her art pieces. She gets a lot of feedback and it is always positive. Patricia would like to meet other woolen graffiti artists and wishes other artists would leave a little note behind with a way of contacting them. She would like to talk to a ‘colleague’ once in a while, or even to get some help to realize a project, where she is less confident to do it alone, like the knit covered tree in Berlin Mitte. 

It is not rare that the knitted street art disappears within only a few days. But Patricia does not mind at all when people take it home. The only thing she asks herself is: What do people do with her woolen graffitis? Once she received an answer to that question from somebody, who was nice enough to ask her on her website first, if he could take it. He wanted to decorate an old and grey metal wardrobe with it. In the end he decided to leave it where it was, for other people to enjoy the pretty art piece as well. Patricia loves to see people’s reactions to her works and so she always sticks around for a while after she has mounted a new woolen art piece. She thinks that all her pieces have gone to good homes when they are taken, because all the feedback she gets is overall positive. For the ones, who don’t take the pieces home, but still want to look at the woolen graffiti over and over again, they can look them up on Patricia’s website

Her piece ‘Festhaltestelle’ (Grab a Tram Stop) at the Alexanderplatz, during the winter month, probably made a lot of people feel a little bit warmer and happier. She covered the handrail at the tram stop, with wool and attached gloves to it. That way Patricia wanted to give some warmth to all Berliners during the cold season. There the craft of knitting was used for its original purpose, but with most other woolen graffitis the original purpose of knitting is left behind and thus it becomes art. It is of no actual use anymore, but becomes a form of expression. This is the fascination for Patricia with this new art form. 


We just find woolen graffitis beautiful and love the fact that somebody makes our city even more colorful, with the only reward being the smiles of total strangers. In the last few days, this also came to the attention of the Berliner Abendblatt and the Liberal Magazin, who mentioned Patricia and her works in their articles. Woolen graffitis bring warmth and happiness into our mother city and there should be many more of them. We are looking forward to see how big this trend will yet become and keep our eyes open to find more woolen street art pieces. 












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