Ultimate Yarn Bomber: Steve Duneier
Those of us that are textile-obsessed have one certain thing in common: when we travel, we wear fiber-colored glasses. What I mean by this is that no matter how absorbing, and perhaps fleeting and excitingly as-yet-explored, is our new terrain, we want to punctuate that travel with something textile-related. We will literally scale mountains to experience some fresh fiber.
On a recent trip to California I did literally that. I got a tip that a major yarn bombing, only up for a matter of days, had been installed atop one of the highest points of the Santa Barbara mountains, at a location called Lizard’s Mouth – by one of our yarnbombing community greats: Steve Duneier, and that Duneier was up there himself.
Yarn Bombing began in the late 90′s and as a movement gathered momentum in the early 2000′s. As a community galvanizer, almost nothing mobilizes working hands and elevates the human spirit like a granny-square covered building. Fiberfolk are not surprised, but those as yet aware of the power of textiles are often surprised at the primal glee evoked by these stunts. Bombers often enlist the help of dozens, hundreds, and sometimes thousands of disparate knitters and crocheters to construct the required acreage for a successful bomb. No matter how many bombs you may have experienced, each is unique. The oft overlooked beauty of a tree that you pass by every day is now highlighted. An ominous World War II relic tank in Denmark, now wearing a pink crocheted sweater, looks as cozy as a toddler-with -blankie. Cover that museum, that state building, that defunct bus and suddenly the world is holding hands again, harmoniously seamed. Hours of toil from across the globe culminate in one giant knitted hug.
Steve Duneier does not call himself a fiber artist. Or any kind of artist. In fact he’s a hedge fund manager by day. Duneier learned to knit in 2012, as part of a self-imposed bucket list entitled 12 in 2012 - where he set out to learn 12 new things. At the top of the list? Knitting. But the simple act of knitting was not what Duneier was after. As a first project, most people try a scarf. A massive yarn bomb was more Duneier’s speed.
Duneier has a deep love for nature, particularly for the trails of the Santa Barbara mountains. In an effort to bring less likely peeps to that part of the world, to educate them about its beauty and to inspire them to preserve and enjoy it, Duneier has now yarnbombed it 4 times. The handmade fabrics used to cover his chosen natural forms include the hands of hundreds of artists, from dozens of countries. This latest bomb at Lizard’s Mouth included 388 contributers from 36 countries. How’s that for community-building!
I really relished the opportunity to meet Yarnbomber Steve Duneier, and enjoyed the view from his perspective. For updates on Duneier, info on his future projects, and calls for participators, you can go to his website, and follow him on twitter or instagram.