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Yarn bombing

In this podcast we learn about yarn bombing during Wellington's Pride Festival.

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Summary

The podcast titled "Yarn Bombing," hosted by Gareth Watkins, explores the vibrant local movement of yarn bombing in Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand, during the city's Pride Festival. The interview, recorded on March 4th, 2019, showcases the thoughts and experiences of members of a queer stitching group as they engage in this unique form of urban art and expression.

Yarn bombing, as explained by the participants, is a practice where civic furniture, such as benches or bike stands, is adorned with knitted or crocheted yarn creations. This spontaneous decoration of public spaces aims to add color and joy to the cityscape, eliciting smiles and admiration, particularly from children. It's described as graffiti done with stitches rather than spray paint, turning ordinary urban objects into delightful works of art.

The group’s motivation to start yarn bombing originated as a coping mechanism and a communal effort to lift spirits following an earthquake that shook Wellington. The group began by enchanting the bike stands outside the city library, with some pieces remaining intact even years later. The interviewee conveys that the movement has gained international traction, with references to yarn bombings seen as far away as Germany.

The aesthetics of yarn bombing lie in their ornamental nature. The creations are often professed to serve no other purpose than decoration, yet they have been met with positivity, even from police officers and city workers. The stitching group, which calls itself Stitch and Butch, meets weekly, fostering friendships and providing support among its members. The act of knitting and stitching forms a secondary byproduct next to the powerful bonds of companionship that the activity cultivates.

Stitch and Butch was formed five years prior to the recording of the interview. Initiated by Erin Kennedy, the group rapidly grew from two to eight members, with each individual seeking a unique form of solace, be it company, calmness, or support through life challenges. The action of stitching offers both a meditative experience and an opportunity for sharing life stories and forming lasting connections.

The recording elaborates on the group’s creative process, detailing the assembly of yarn creations such as flowers and monsters as part of specific projects like the Pride Week festivities. The locations for the yarn bombings are often chosen for convenience or significance, with a group consensus driving the decision-making.

Yarn bombing activities are discussed as typically occurring after work hours for practical reasons, contradicting the common image of covert, nocturnal operations. The group emphasizes that the process of yarn bombing holds greater depth beyond the simple installation of pieces; it’s a ritual of kinship and a symbol of pride.

Speaking of pride, the interviewee expresses a deep sense of honor towards Wellington’s wider support for the LGBTQ+ community, highlighted by the abundance of rainbow flags and paintings across the city. Yarn bombing, in its essence, is regarded as a subtle form of activism that contributes to the queerness and openness of Wellington’s culture.

The documentary audio ends on a celebratory note, capturing the joy and pride the yarn bombers feel in enhancing Wellington's public spaces, and by extension, its community spirit. Various references to specific locations in Wellington and the mention of international awareness emphasize the local and global relevance of yarn bombing.

This summary is created using Generative AI. Although it is based on the recording's transcription, it may contain errors or omissions. Click here to learn more about how this summary was created.

Record date:4th March 2019
Interviewer:Gareth Watkins
Copyright:pridenz.com
Location:Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand
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Archive:The master recording is archived at the Alexander Turnbull Library (OHDL-004551).
URL:https://www.pridenz.com/yarn_bombing.html