The members of the Ladies Fancywork Society (LFS) may create fiber art under the guise of their grandmother’s names, but they aren’t crocheting granny squares for quilts. Instead, they are bringing the art of crochet to the streets of Denver and beyond with epic yarn bombing installations.
Yarn bombing began in 2005 in Houston, Texas with the talents of a crew of fiber-centric street artists founded by Magda Sayeg called Knitta Please, aka Knitta, and began exploding both nationally and internationally. Tags, small pieces of art placed on a variety of locations, started popping up on street lamps, poles, bicycle racks, tree branches and more. Eventually, the art form evolved from simple tags to encompass larger installations on buildings, cars and even a tank. The tank, created in 2006, was titled Pink M.24 Chaffee, the concept for which was created by Danish artist Marianna Jorgensen. It was made using 4,000 pink squares contributed by needle workers from all across Europe and the USA in protest of Denmark’s involvement in the Iraq War. Yarn bombing, for some, is a way to make a political statement, but for others like LFS, it is all about the art.
Inspired by the work of Knitta, in 2007, Ladies Fancywork Society was born. Four good friends make up the members of LFS who are the sole contributors to each piece they produce. Like most beginning yarn bombers, LFS began with small installations and tags around Denver. The group eventually set their sights much higher, over six stories higher to be exact, when they created their first large installation of legwarmers on Jonathan Borofsky’s Dancers in front of the Denver Performing Arts Complex.
“Our fingers were frozen at 3 a.m. and we were shoving the piece up with brooms,” LFS said of some of the challenges they faced in that first large-scale installation.
The yarn bombing of the Dancers got the attention of many in the Denver art scene and has lead to commissions such as Garden of the DAMed at the Denver Art Museum and Fancygasm at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. LFS’s latest installation, Geoge, was a part of this year’s seventh annual Colorado Crush, Denver’s largest independent street art festival. LFS spent over four months constructing Geoge, a piece that deviated from their signature style of whimsicality with heavy floral embellishments.
“The Colorado Crush piece was a little different for us technically and aesthetically. It was so different because it was super structured and geometrical,” LFS said.
Over the nearly 10 years that LFS has been creating their yarn bomb installations, they have developed ways to creatively customize and arrange their pieces to withstand environmental and structural challenges. Most installations are planned ahead of time with meticulous measuring and designing with the location in mind.
“With Geoge, we had to be really creative on how to get measurements. We measured the bricks on the building and then we looked up and counted how many bricks there were to create our grid,” LFS said. “We did street math, which we decided is also a really good band name.”
While working on Geoge, LFS was also simultaneously putting together their project room installation, titled Tell Your Mom I Said Hi, for Black Book Gallery, which opened on October 8 and runs through October 29. The gallery show combines LFS’ Lisa Frank-inspired color palette with their signature style of lacework floral embellishments and subtly humorous nuances.
“This show very much represents what’s happening in all of our heads all of the time,” LFS said. “Also, we’re like 12-year-old boys, so there might be some penis jokes. It will be subtle but they will be there.”
Tell Your Mom I Said Hi is a full room installation where, for the first time, LFS is offering up for purchase the detailed individual elements that make up the room.
“Our art is usually a commissioned piece. People don’t usually get to see our work this close-up. It’s cool to get more detail in [the gallery space] and not worry about the weather,” LFS said.
It is indeed cool to see LFS’s work up close at Black Book Gallery. The intricacy of every single element in all its massive rainbow glory is an experience not to be missed. The vibrant colors immediately draw observers into the room. The soft, grass-like carpet and floor-to-ceiling fiber-art engulf art lovers in a sea of crochet bliss that is beautiful, comforting and highly amusing. Be on the lookout for the witty gems that serve both as treasures to be discovered and the titles of each individual piece hidden among the delicately crocheted project room installation created by LFS.