June 29, 2012

Site Specific Art Installation

That's what someone called their yarnbombing this last week, when I gave them a compliment on how well it suited the environment, how it looked like it belonged, how that piece of knitting made total sense there... "That's because it's a site specific art installation" she said, and she's right.  This go 'round at Port Ludlow, the knitters outdid themselves.  It wasn't just bits of knitting left wherever (which I have to say, is not without it's own charms)  this was considered and deliberate.  It was art - and before you get on me, telling me that there's lots of places that consider this vandalism, know that Port Ludlow loves this.  Loves. It.  As a hotel they embrace knitters, thinks the things we make are beautiful, and leave them up for a long time after we've gone... and some favourites have been up for a year or more, and why would they take them down?  Why, whey they're so very charming.  From a bedecked little cork for the wine steward, to tiny socks turning up dangling from lamp pulls and warming the feet of occasional tables...

To checker cozies and then hats on the chess Queeens ( those bison bridles on the knights sprang up later.) 

To wee knitted birds that sprung up in the windows, one more each day.

In a perfect echo, a strand of garter stitch sawtooth edging sprang up in the most  perfect spot along the framed blade of a timber saw.

Carved ducks got scarves and their webbed feet got warmers... the heron statues outside sported scarves in no time, and an iron lady in the hall upstairs had an angora cowl and balls of yarn held in her skirts.

Finally, there was the completion of a set.  The Inn has these lamps with decorative balls on the bottoms of them - and quite some time ago, an unknown knitter covered the ones in the dining room with cozies. They were so perfect (and a little high up) that it took ages before the staff even found them, and after that - they were beguiled enough to leave them.  Shortly thereafter two more of these light bottoms got cozies - this time it was the ones in the breezeway, which are even harder to get at, but I think the staff figured that the knitter in question had got up on a chair or another knitters shoulders to get them there, and there that knitting stayed too.  This time, there was one light with an uncovered bottom - and it turns out that the knitter in question had a hankering to complete her set.  One evening, the prettiest cover yet had mystically appeared - and when I saw it, I lost my freaking mind.
I staggered a little, double checked that it really was a piece of knitting, and then scurried down the hall to fetch Tina, giggling helplessly the whole time.

"Come with me" I said to Tina, and she could see by the look on my face that I meant it.  She followed me down the hall, and I took her underneath the light, and pointed up.  Her gaze followed my finger, and then, as she understood what she was seeing, a low whistle escaped her.  I saw her do the calculation I had, and she looked at me shaking her head.  "That's not okay!" she said.  "That's not safe!" I mumbled my agreement, was totally glad that the knitter was an intelligent adult who had probably done it safely, and we both stood under that art piece, and tried to figure out how it had come to be.  See, that light?

It's about 25 feet off the ground.  At least, and I'm not good at feet.  It's hanging from the ceiling on the second floor, with the stairway wrapped around it.  There's no stairs under that light - just  a drop to the main floor.  We stood there, then walked up and down the stairs and tried to figure out exactly how this had come to pass.  Had they borrowed a ladder? Built a scaffold? Some sort of climbing equipment or even (dare we all hope) built a pyramid of knitters - with our artist teetering on the top, stitching that thing on while they all co-operated towards one magnificent goal like something out of Cirque du Soleil?

It turned out the answer was slightly more mundane, but not really much less intrepid or daring... and there was (much to our relief) a safety plan in place, which was an enormous comfort to us, as we'd already imagined how we would tell this knitters family about the unusual and unlikely nature of her demise. 

The set is perfect though. Absolutely perfect, and I bet that the knitter feels as we do, that it was totally and completely worth it, just to watch the inn staff stand under that, and wonder how it happened.  It turns out, that since most of them aren't knitters... it didn't occur to them that she could pre-knit it, and then put it in place.  A whole bunch of them had a vision of a knitter, somehow getting up there, and then knitting that thing on.  Needles a blazing, glancing down at the ground nervously, while her light cozy grew row by row.

Maybe it makes us bad people...
but we didn't correct them.

Posted by Stephanie at June 29, 2012 2:45 PM