The graffiti project that got out of hands

It all started from a suggestion by Virve Miettinen from the Keskustakirjasto 2017 project. They wanted to take part in the Knit’n'Tag event in Helsinki, where the trees of Ruttopuisto aka Vanhan kirkon puisto in Helsinki would be decorated with knitted and crochet graffitis. And since all the best things in life are done together, Virve thought this should also be a cooperation project.

And so it became one. Molla Mills (one of Paloni’s designers, Mari Leppälä) designed and made instructions for a crochet chain. The contrast between the soft material and the associations related to chains is visually addictive. Paloni got involved and started organizing workshops together with Molla – on three weekends at the Pavilion, and on the Restaurant Day as a picnic on Paloni’s floor. Virve and the Keskustakirjasto team collected dreams that people have regarding the new City Library, and those dreams were written on signs that would be hung on the trees together with the chain. Two trees were reserved from Ruttopuisto for the project. They would become the Trees of Dreams.

Tens of people between the ages of four to 82 years attended by crocheting the chain. Some of the people who took part in the workshops wanted to take yarn and a hook home to continue the project, and I got chain deliveries to Paloni from people all telling the same story: it’s so addictive! We had American tourists, a Korean girl, people crocheting for the first time in their life. And Henni – a woman who crocheted some 80 hours and even got an inflammation on her wrist…

The visual addictiveness of the chain and of crocheting it was noticed by photographers that happened to see us wherever we were. Teemu Lindroos spotted us as we were having one of our first workshops at the Pavilion. The chain was not so long then, yet, but still the pictures he took show the joy of making it longer, loop by loop.

Me and Molla Mills. Picture by Teemu Lindroos

Me and Molla Mills. Picture by Teemu Lindroos.
Ladies crocheting. Picture by Teemu Lindroos

Ladies crocheting. Picture by Teemu Lindroos

One of our workshops at the Pavilion. Picture by Teemu Lindroos.

One of our workshops at the Pavilion. Picture by Teemu Lindroos.

Molla teaching Saara how to crochet. Picture by Teemu Lindroos.

Molla teaching Saara how to crochet. Picture by Teemu Lindroos.

Then, another weekend at the Pavilion and another photographer. Jussi Rautsi takes pictures of people and life in Helsinki with his faithful Leica. He has a yearly exhibition at Laterna, and the next one will also include pictures of us crocheting. There are many of them, and they’re all brilliant – actually so brilliant that I ended up buying for Paloni this series of Henni and me crocheting and gossiping. I already have plans of postcards and posters… These pictures just bring a smile to my face, every time. The visually presented social aspect of handicrafts, the contrast of Henni’s light colors and my black SIPILÄ tunic, the men who have turned their backs on us crocheting, the other women of different ages taking part, and even the smallest details: Henni’s full coffee cup and heart-shaped elbow patch, my hat that matches Henni’s colors, our body language and expressions… And of course the chain that is everywhere! I just love these pictures.

"Virkkaavat rouvat" - a series of pictures by Jussi Rautsi
 
"Virkkaavat rouvat" - a series of pictures by Jussi Rautsi
 
"Virkkaavat rouvat" - a series of pictures by Jussi Rautsi

"Virkkaavat rouvat" - a series of pictures by Jussi Rautsi.

Journalists also got interested. I got interviewed for the local newspapers Vartti and Metro. My main message was that textile graffitis bring joy, cure our handicrafts traumas and bring people together. There should be more of this in Helsinki and in the world.

Today a chain of over 130 meters of crocheted loops were attached to our Trees of Dreams at Ruttopuisto. That’s about 2600 loops. And about 650 hours of crocheting – optimistically calculating. Think about it. All just for having fun, and for bringing joy. Quite amazing!

Measuring 130 meters of chain this morning at Ruttopuisto

Measuring 130 meters of chain this morning at Ruttopuisto

Molla attaching the graffiti to the Tree of Dreams.

Molla attaching the graffiti to the Tree of Dreams.

Virve attaching a sign with someone's dream about the new Central Library

Virve attaching a sign with someone's dream about the new Central Library

Minna

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