Prying Open Pandora’s Box

My last brief post seems to have struck a chord, and though I'm inclined to avoid discussions involving absolutes when it comes to crafts and arts, I think it's time for a juicy, responsible and well-mannered argument. Consider me to have just pried open this Pandora's box.

The issue at hand: yarnbombing. Some commenters on my post about the New York Times article on yarn graffiti seemed fairly offended by several things, be it that: a) yarn graffiti can harm trees and birds; b) it's a waste of yarn; c) it's a waste of time; d) when people are going unsheltered and unclothed, it's offensive to spend one's resources on such useless crap; e) it shows crochet in a bad light.

I happen to think yarnbombing is wonderful. I've yet to hear of harm coming to ecosystems or wildlife, though I do think this argument is the strongest caution against yarn graffiti. I'm inclined to consider trees strong enough to withstand wearing a sweater for a few months, but I would like to know if anyone's heard of birds coming to harm either from becoming ensnared in yarn bombs or by mistaking it for food.

As for the other points, I see a lot of false dichotomies and judgment being tossed about. I get very twitchy when folks even sort of imply that art is a waste of time or money. Even art that makes you recoil is good to have around. Art makes us feel and it makes us think. Sure, especially in hard economic times it's easy to decide that money spent on "nonessential" things should be reallocated elsewhere, but I'll urge you to imagine a community devoid of art – that's not a very healthy community.

Though street art is more controversial than some other art forms, I'm a fan of it, too. And unlike paint-based graffiti, yarn graffiti is impermanent. It's easy to remove. And for the most part, people find it to be an enhancement rather than vandalism. But to each her own. If your bus shelter is yarn bombed and you're horrified, all you need is a pair of scissors to undo it.

When it comes to how an individual crafter spends her time, what's it to you? You make what you want to make, I'll make what I want to make, and we'll come together and talk about the things we've learned and the accomplishments we've achieved and the satisfaction we've felt. The sweater makers will appreciate the doily makers and the charity crafters will appreciate the sock crocheters, and we'll all be the better for it.

As for giving crochet a bad rap, I don't buy that either. Through yarn bombing, I see crochet featured in art galleries, in magazines and newspapers, and in blogs the world over. Better yet, when it comes to yarn bombing crochet is given equal billing to knitting – yarn bombers are yarn bombers, not crocheters or knitters. It's refreshing! All I see that has the potential to give crochet a bad name is crocheters casting aspersions or implying that the craft is only good for some applications but not others.

So. What do you think? Let 'er rip. And be nice, for topics such as this tend to get heated fast. Let's keep in mind that every opinion is welcome, but haters aren't.

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