Thursday, January 15, 2009

Denise Litchfield and the art of guerilla knitting

Denise Litchfield and Baxter tagging at Mays Lane Art Project, St Peters (photo Sahlan Hughes)

Denise is a fabulous Roomies supporter and often works with Clarice Collien. This SMH article by Sunanda Creagh, January 14, 2009 is worth quoting in full!

WHERE other graffiti artists use spraypaint, Denise Litchfield uses wool.

Litchfield is part of a growing global movement of guerilla knitters, who stitch their handmade creations onto trees, poles, street lights and other objects in the public domain.

"It redefines street art and is also a reference to graffiti," the Stanmore woman said. "It's absurd and feminine and fun."

Using recycled or cast-off yarn, Litchfield has attached her creations to poles and trees in Newtown and Rozelle and her long-term goal is to knit cosies for fire hydrants and bollards.

Ms Litchfield also pokes fun at the notion of a graffiti "tag" by creating cardboard swing tags similar to those attached to items in a boutique.

"I write messages on them and put them on bikes and dogs. One friend said she was walking down King Street and saw a tag that said 'All your problems have been taken care of' and thought, 'Yeah, I needed to hear that,' " Litchfield said.

"I have been doing it for about six months and I don't know of anyone else doing it in Sydney. I haven't been intercepted by a council ranger yet but often when I put them up people stop to ask what I am doing and to have a chat," she said.

Litchfield has won the support of a Marrickville councillor, Peter Olive.

"I'd be only too happy for her to do some knitting in the Marrickville local government area," he said. "I see it as a form of art and it's not harmful or anyone else's property or the public space. I think it should be encouraged."

Emily Howes, an expert from University of Technology, Sydney, and author of a PhD thesis on "indie craft", said guerilla knitters operated in Scandinavia, the US, Japan and South Africa. She thinks Litchfield might be Sydney's first.

"I think there is a groundswell of activity. The really big guerilla craft group is a collective called Knitta, which has outposts around the world," she said. "They see craft as a subversive and politically motivated act - a way of jolting people out of their comfortable reverie


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