I’ve been having a wonderful time scouring the internet for rad guerrilla artists and have had the good fortune to interview a few lately. Yarn Vandalette from Germany and Montana Banksy from the States were kind enough to share their back stories, inspirations and plans for the future and now Yarnomaniac is joining the gang!
Yarnomaniac is a Danish artist with an important environmental message that she shares with the world using plastic, crochet and street art! I wont give away any more because all the juicy details and beautiful pics are just below, right at your finger tips and best described by the Yarnomaniac herself! Enjoy and be sure to comment at the end of it all.
Yarnomaniac, tell us about yourself and art:
I am a Danish artist wanting to draw attention to the world’s big plastic issue. I do it with bright full colours and positivity. I collect old plastic bags, transform them into yarn and spend weeks crocheting big WHATs in the shape of graffiti.
WHAT is the beginning of a whole sentence by which I want to remind myself and others who bump into the pieces: WHAT do we do to reduce disposable/single use plastics?
My mission is to place pieces all around the world. Reminding more and more people to say no to single use plastics. When installing the pieces I like to wear one of my favourite sweatshirts, that – if you take a closer look at it – reveals a crocheted f*ckfinger/hand (), going all the way from the front and ends on back. This plastic-comment gives me the power to go outside and do the things I do.
Tell us about how you came to be inspired to advocate for this cause:
Well, I’ve always been environmentally conscious, a big fan of Greenpeace and fan of graffiti too. As a teenager I imagined myself being one of the activists going speedboating risking my life to prevent an environmental disaster.
And somewhat inspired by Michael Jackson’s song “Man in the mirror” I started collecting plastic bags and cut out statements against plastic, but never got them installed.
Years later, at the same time as the plastic problem got huge, I got the idea to transform the bags into yarn and made the first WHAT.
You crochet with plastic or plarn-tell us more about the materials you use and how you source them:
That’s right. I collect worn out plastic bags from everywhere. Some by plogging, some by collecting from people in my neighbourhood. Then I cut the bags into yarn to crochet a WHAT.
Each peace takes a lot of time and patience/stubbornness to produce. And to be honest, I’m not totally happy/thrilled about letting all this plastic glide through my hands.
Whenever crocheting a WHAT, I try to focus on the impact it has. The WHAT-project has already made people change their single-use-plastic-behaviour – like my parents, people I meet and people joining on Instagram – so I think it’s all worth it
Tell us about your installation and inspiration process: some pieces appear in nature, some urban…. how do you choose where to install?
I haven’t really thought about that before… Only that there should be no rules, because plastic has no rules either.
It’s everywhere. In the ocean, in our food, and since it’s airborn it’s also found in honey and places where people usually have no access. Like on the mountains of Switzerland. My pieces have to be everywhere – to stress that plastic is everywhere.
But since/now you’re asking… I realize that all the places have one thing on common. My eyes always look for beautiful places and spots. And since I appreciate both nature and urban (actually I find most beauty in rough, abandoned, or over tagged places either colorful or rough/raw), I’m installing all these different places. I want to preserve the beauty of our Earth and not let it be heaped with plastic.
How do you install them, for how long, are you able to re-use them?
I always take my pieces down after shooting, but not just because they are reusable. If I left it hanging, it would end up polluting the nature. And besides… each piece takes quite some time to produce. Sometimes a piece is up for ten minutes for the shoot, like in deserted places in nature. The urban ones I often let hang for some hours.
It’s very rewarding. People are curious, express lots of support and there is always someone ready to give a hand. On a parking lot I wasn’t high enough to reach the top-notch-installation-space and got help from a lady who literally lifted me by folding her hands, letting me step into them x 20 times before the piece was in place.
Next time I’ll bring a ladder…! But usually I bring one or two pieces along with my installation gear containing: clamps, ordinary yarn, double sided tape (looking for a sustainable version), scissor and hooks.
What does the future hold for the WHAT project?
I’ll go to unexpected places, climb high mountains, dive deep, deep down in the sea or whatever I can do to bring the message forward.
And for sure I’ll be climbing Mount Fuji facing my fear of heights to install a big WHAT in the blazing wind on the top. Only I’ll have to figure out how to reach Japan and many other destinations without an airplane. To me it doesn’t make sense to fight plastic by polluting/ contaminating with co2.
Usually I go by train, but WHAT am I gonna do to reach Greenland, India and of course Japan? Right now I’m looking for other artists and photographers who would like to collaborate to spread the message all around the world.
What advice would give an aspiring street artist with an important message?
My best advise for aspiring street artist is; just get started. I made a “DO IT” sign, to remind me of that; just do it.
Final question: What are you top tips for reducing plastic use?
Reducing plastic is also easy. Simply by saying no to all single use plastic bags, cutlery and all other single use plastic stuff. You can also try plogging. Plogging is a Swedish sport where you run and pick up rubbish at the same time. In that way plastic pollution isn’t totally bad… at least/actually it got me out there running without peeping but with a big smile on my face.
So there you have it: Yarnomaniac filling us in on how she got started spreading her message, how you make tiny steps to help the environment (and your health if you plog) and also how you can get going as a street artist. I feel so inspired to read her words and connect with her passion for ‘making’ the world a better, cleaner place, and of course this has lead me to think about my single plastic use. Not surprisingly, there is definitely room for improvement in this regard. I’m also super excited to report we are in talks around a What collaboration, so stay tuned to see how this shakes down!
This all leads quite nicely to passing along a huge, warm thanks to Yarnomaniac for the time she took to share her story with us and the energy and effort she puts out in the Universe. We’de both love to hear back from you in the comment section below- on how you or your community reduce single plastic use, whether youve tried plogging or anything else Yarnomaniac’s interview brought to mind.
Craft well, be well!