A craftivist encounter on the Downs, Bristol


Well, apologies to those of you who follow this blog regularly.  As I said in an earlier post, this is my very busiest time of year in my day job, but the worst of it is almost over.  The teaching has finished and now the assessment begins in earnest, but it is less demanding than the face-to-face work and I should be able to get back to my more creative work.

As I still haven’t made anything worth talking about, I thought I would post about this bit of craftivism I found on a recent walk with my dog.  We came over a rise in the ground and I saw the bench in the photo at the top of the post.  I could see the little knitted bands on the arms for the bench so I went over to have a look while the dog was snuffling around in some bushes.

I don’t particularly like yarn-bombing, which is what this form of craftivisim is.  I don’t like the imposition of generally fairly crude knitting in garish colours on the landscape.  I do like the protest against the homogenization of the high street and the way that we buy branded goods rather than encouraging local producers.  I like the protest against every town in England looking just like every other town with its Tesco, M&S, Sainsbury’s, trainer shops, Nandos and so on.  But the imposition of another person’s taste can be just as bad.  So I am in two minds about seeing knitting wrapped round the iron arm of a bench on one of Bristol’s best-loved open spaces with its spectacular views over the Avon Gorge.

I am still not sure, but I really did like the accompanying note which tied in the craftivism to the local area.  I am very keen on the idea that story and place cannot be separated.  Story makes place.  And this was a very moving story and one which it was good to have told.  There was a poem and the biography of the poet:



I came away from the encounter feeling more part of a location that I have walked through with my dogs for years, with a greater sense of belonging.  I am still unconvinced about craftivism, but I thought this was a good experience of it.

2 thoughts on “A craftivist encounter on the Downs, Bristol

  1. This will probably sound as though I’m being unkind, but yarn bombing always seems to look as though it’s been done just because it ought to be. I have never seen anything that looks in keeping with the surroundings which implies that no consideration was given to design. I’ll ‘shut up’ now……

    1. But it’s so un-pc to say so, isn’t it. I agree with you about the unsympathetic-ness. I think the Craft Collectivist’s little embroidered protest quilts are a lot nicer. But stripes of crude acrylic yarn are pretty horrible. I agree.

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