August 15, 2013
Knit the Bridge Pittsburgh installation, August 10, 2013
I made a flying trip to Pittsburgh on Saturday to experience the installation of the Knit the Bridge project. It was simply amazing on so many levels. The weather was warm but fine, thankfully, and volunteers were out in full force to work their shifts installing individual panels on the iconic Andy Warhol 7th Street Bridge. The level of dedication and organization that brought everything together for this moment is truly mind-blowing.
The hand crocheted and/or knitted panels were laid out along the walkway, ready to be secured with zip ties. Each metal panel of the bridge got a fiber panel on the inside and on the outside.
Once they were in place, the volunteers whipstitched them together with twine along all the edges.
While that was happening on the south side of the bridge, the north side was blocked off so that the rigging crews could use lifts to install the machine knitted panels on the high bridge supports.
These panels were first attached to construction fencing.
This is truly yarn bombing on a epic scale.
The panels were all geometric patterns--no imagery or graphics--but beyond that they varied wildly, according to the talents and desires of the people who made them.
Once the individual panels were in place, black knitting was added to cover the railings. This contrast added tremendously to the overall impact.
I could have spent all afternoon taking pictures of individual panels; there were so many interesting ones, and so many combinations of colors and textures.
I walked over the Rachel Carson 9th Street Bridge to get some distance shots. There were a lot of boaters on the river, and the whole experience had a very festive air. From here it reminded me a bit of maritime signal flags, as if there was a message there waiting to be decoded.
I then went to the other side, to the Roberto Clemente 6th Street Bridge, for another perspective of the installation-in-progress.
I’ve taken a lot of photos of all three bridges in the past using my fisheye lens, and had some more fun with it at the installation. (For previous bridge pictures, see the Pittsburgh album on my Flickr site--link in the right sidebar, or go here.)
It’s one thing to have a cool idea--hey kids, let’s yarn bomb a bridge!--but to actually make it happen is a whole ‘nother level of fiber art coolness. Kudos to the Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh.
Check their Knit the Bridge Blog and /or Facebook page for lots more cool links and pictures. They are getting all kinds of wonderful and well deserved press.
This project is diametrically at the other end of the fiber art spectrum from my studio practice, where I work alone on one individual meticulously stitched piece at a time, but I found it tremendously inspiring. The installation will be up until September 7th, and I’m sure it will continue to delight and amaze the entire time.
Last but not least, many many thanks to project co-director Penny Mateer for doffing her hard hat and taking a few minutes from her hectic day to talk with me. Penny, it was wonderful to finally meet you in person!