One June evening two summers ago, my friend Baxter was walking me home when asked me, “Have you seen the teddy bear?” I hadn’t yet seen recently-installed the “Untitled Lamp/Bear” sculpture, and we took a detour through Ruth B. Simmons quad to take a look at it. The sculpture that would later be affectionately referred to as ‘Blueno’ was already attracting the attention of the students on campus that summer. Whether they adored or despised it, people were making their opinions known regarding the aesthetic merit of the art piece.
Later that summer, I traveled to Paris and Ireland with my dear friend and fairy godmother, Ann Hood. She was promoting her most recent novel, ‘The Book That Matters Most,’ which featured a character who was a yarn-bomber. This was my first introduction to the practice of yarn-bombing, a form of non-permanent graffiti that covers structures with knitted material, with the intention of personalizing sterile or cold public spaces. While researching the colorful history of guerilla knitting, I learned this artistic vandalism has covered objects ranging from the Wall Street Bull, to telephone boxes in London. Street art and graffiti are typically male-dominated practices, but yarn bombing takes a more playful and feminine approach to reclaiming public spaces. It became my mission to create a knitted accessory for Blueno that would enable the Brown community to warm to this sculpture, which seemed to have been artificially imposed on our campus. Continue Reading