Woolen Graffiti? Knitta Please
By Michelle Kay
Typically when you think of Houston, you don’t think of knitting. Or graffiti. Maybe George Bush or oilfields or aeronautics come to mind. In a city of concrete, parkways and skyscrapers, the crew of Knitta, Please (www.knittaplease.com) bring a bit of coziness and colour to Houston with their knit tags.
Knitta, Please was formed by Magda Sayeg in 2005. The Knitta crew, with members such as P-Knitty, The Knotorious N.I.T, MascuKnitity and PolyCotN, leave a bit of coziness on sign posts, fences, bottles of ketchup and beer, poles, trees, car antennas, shopping carts and more. Nothing that you can wrap a tag around is safe anymore.
Since starting the group, the crew has waxed and waned, tagging cities all over the States and the world including Paris and the Great Wall of China with their knit street art. Other imitation groups have formed all over North America, helping to bring some yarn magic to their cities. The pieces are often vibrant cozies for poles and sign posts providing a nice contrast to the dull grey of metal seen too often in large metropolitan areas. Sometimes the pieces are individual creations; other times they are collective efforts like when several knitters got together to create the cozy for a column in the Seattle Centre Monorail.
Sayeg mentions that she has a love/hate relationship with Houston. “Public art captures the eye, and Houston is a city with lots of concrete. It’s no wonder people are reacting to [the knit tags]. People react to their environment.” The reactions that Knitta has received have ranged from confusion to curiosity–she’s told people she’s participating in a church scavenger hunt before–to supportive and delighted. Fans have taken Knitta’s tags as souvenirs. “People have taken pieces down and given them to their girlfriends.” Sayeg has even received a marriage proposal, and there was also an incident involving someone trying to sell a piece on Ebay. Knitta has had a mostly warm reception with none of the legal issues usually associated with graffiti. “People just don’t know what to make of it sometimes,” she adds.
With the rise in popularity in knitting and crafting during the last few years, it’s nice to see knitting move into public spaces, beyond homes, small knitting groups and even knitting on public transport. With Knitta’s tags, they provide a new medium in street art. And hey, even poles and sign posts need a bit of lovin’.