Interview with London Kaye

London Kaye is by far the most prolific yarnbomber out there and guess what? She agreed to an interview!

London cranks out Street art, crochets billboard size commissions, agrees to interviews with vandals AND  is an Amazing Race, season 29 (personal) fan favourite! She’s a super, duper bad-ass and a total inspiration to yarnies worldwide.

Read on to find out how she challenged herself to get into yarnbombing, gets inspired by life, and her tips for happiness and success.  I am so delighted to share this, so lets do this. Enjoy!

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Hey London! Tell us about yourself and art.

I was born in Los Angeles, California and grew up dancing. I learned to crochet when I was 13 years old and I have not stopped since.


In middle school I began selling scarves to friends and to local shops. At 16 I bought myself a car with the money I earned crocheting. I always looked to crochet as something I loved but did not ever think to crochet anything other than scarves or simple hats.

After college in NYC, I got a job working at the Apple Store. Late one night a customer walked in with a crazy crochet bag. It was Olek, an incredible and inspiring yarn artist. I had never heard of her before and immediately googled her name after she left the store.

Olek

The google results not only introduced me to her art, but also introduced me to the world of yarnbombing. There was not much written about it at the time, but I had to give it a try.

FirstTree

London’s first yarnbomb!

I started out doing all street art made of yarn. I gave myself a 30 day challenge and everyday for 30 days I would put something crocheted outside for people to enjoy.

Subway

During that time I began an instagram account and developed my own style of art when no one was watching. I started using chainlink fence as a canvas because there is a lot of it in Brooklyn, and it was perfect to tie yarn to without damaging someones property.

IMG_6240

I have been yarnbombing now for almost 5 years, and have supported myself crocheting for the last 3 or those years.

Ali

The crochet billboard in Time Square for Miller Lite and the 20 store window displays for Red Valentino are my favorite projects to date!

What does a typical day look like for you?

A perfect day for me would be crocheting for 12 hours, but that sadly does not happen.

IMG_2102

Usually the morning is filled with emails and shipping orders. Part of my day is sketching and putting together proposals for upcoming projects. Managing and organizing yarn is always somewhere in the mix. And the rest is filled with crocheting, friends, and other life tasks.

RedValentino

1 of 20 Red Valentino windows!

I love yarnbombing but I try to not crochet my street art during “work hours.” I do any commissioned crochet work first.

LionBrandWindow

Lion Brand Yarn Studio

What does your creative process look like? Ie. how do you get inspired, do you listen to music/podcasts or Netflix while working, do you run ideas past anyone?

doorsketchI get inspired by colors. One of my favorite yarnbombs I crocheted was of a huge blue whale (wait for it!). That happened because I had a lot of blue yarn in my stash.

When I get an idea I like to sketch is out to water down the shapes and then begin to crochet it. I like to mix and match different shades and textures of yarn together to add even more dimension to it.

Watching documentaries where I learn something is always my favorite crochet background noice.

The Door to Another Dimension!

You were on Amazing Race- I was so delighted! Tell us about that.

It was such a blast being on the Amazing Race. I have always been a fan of the show so to actually experience it was an incredible opportunity. It had nothing to do with crocheting but I love to travel and that we did!

URock

The people and the places are the two things I cherish most from the experience. No iPhone or computer for a month was pretty nice too.

How did you promote yourself during the transition from hobbiest to professional?

I have always promoted myself by yarnbombing. I think it is a great way to spread a little joy into peoples day and stay creating.

What tips would you give someone who wants to follow your yarny path?

As long as you are doing what you love good things will follow. Enjoy the work and do not give up! All sounds cheesy but I live by it.

DoorProjectCollab

Door Project collab…see the tiny door?

Yarnbombing tips:

If you get stopped by the cops tell them you are taking it down, not putting it up 😉

Ask permission whenever possible. There is nothing more exhilarating than putting up a yarnbomb you know you will not get in trouble for.

Bring a step stool.

No one sees the mistakes.

Leave a tag with a way for people to find you.

snowwhale

One of London’s favourites…the Blue Whale

What do you do to get in the creative flow and generate ideas?

To get in the flow I like to go for runs or walks and look at the world around me. Checking out the shoes people are wearing on the street can be filled with inspiration.

butterfly

Butteryfly wings to the max!

What’s the best part of being a yarn celebrity? 

Thank you for the compliment 🙂

The best part to date about crocheting as a career is seeing the crochet hook I created and patented now in stores with Lion Brand Yarn! I spent over 2 years using 3D printing to come up with a design that combined all of the best features found in a crochet hook. The hook and yarn is now sold in craft stores around the country.

London-Kaye-Hooks-Large 20mm
Have you ever collaborated with other street artists
?

Yes! I have collaborated with other street artists. Some of my favorites are, Frank Ape, Lola, and Door Project.

IMG_2101

Frank Ape collab.


How do you balance all your projects?

I try and take on most of the projects that come my way because I love to crochet, so being busy is good. I get help from other amazing crocheters when big projects with quick timelines come along. Everything I create is single crochet so the crochet work itself is never too technical.

IMG_2100

Just a simple dragon 😉

What are you looking forward to?

I am looking forward to the Mickey Experience opening in NYC from Nov. 8th – Feb 10th. I crocheted an enormous mural of color being conducted by Mickey Mouse. It is an interactive art exhibit featuring a multitude of art installations and I am so excited to be part of it!

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Oh my, so much good stuff! I love her style and am totally inspired. I actually stopped mid-blog post to create some London-inspired art, so Twillingate stay tuned.

Thank you so much London for sharing your time and creativity-both here, with us, and in the world. You are a rare, beautiful bird!

Anyone else out there ever embark on a 30-day artistic challenge? Or feel inspired by London’s get-up-and-go attitude? I got a feeling the effects of  either would be powerful.

You can keep up with London’s constant, crocheted creativity by following her on Instagram-She’s a busy gal so pop over and feel the yarn love! You can also find me there alongside Twillingate’s latest street art. Holler at me if you have ideas-especially good ones.

Until next time-Rock on friends

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