Monday, June 20, 2011

A group effort and a first nemesis

There's a new-ish shop on North Street called Paper Village, which is basically everything I would have done if I'd ever actually got round to opening a shop. It sells some cheap acrylic wool in many colours, various fun craft supplies and some interesting artwork, and also runs craft workshops for kids and adults.

Vic, who runs the shop, instigated a little group yarn bombing project under the banner of the Bristol Knitivists, to coincide with the South Bristol Art Trail. It had a loose theme of "gardens", which included a cactus, lots of flowers, and some birds and bees. I contributed two bike rack cosies, a "grassy" one and a multi-textured one.

Here are some photos of the day:

As you can see, it was a big success with passers-by.

Unfortunately, most of it did not last very long. On monday evening, I cycled past the installation and saw a man take down our work. I went over to ask him why, and he said "the environmental officer came down today.". When I asked him to elaborate, he claimed that "you're not to vandalise the street furniture". I really should have pressed him further as to a) why this "environmental officer" had come down and what his name was b) how what we had done constituted vandalism ("ruthless destruction or spoiling of anything beautiful or venerable") and c) whether he, personally, had been given the task of removing the offending pieces by this presumably fictional council representative. But for some reason I decided to leave it at that at the time.

As you can probably tell, I am quite annoyed about this. In principle, I know that this is part of doing any sort of guerilla/public installation - if you are assuming the right to install your work somewhere public, you're also accepting other people's right to take it down again. I just really can't accept the sort of petty small-mindedness that seemed to be the motivation for this.

Anyway - one of the bike rack cosies lasted slightly longer by virtue of being slightly down the road, and it was there during Upfest which happened a couple of weeks later, and we got plenty of positive reactions for our work, too, including an "I saw you" in Venue (Thursday, 26 May 2011)!