Next time you are in East London’s Stratford Cross, why not check out new hand-made street art installations that promote community knitting and celebrate Black hair creativity?
The first of two large-scale yarn bomb installations was unveiled on 18 December 2023 by Black female-led organisation Black Girl Knit Club (BGKC), writes Abena Sɛwaa of AKADi Magazine.
The installation uses knitting techniques that do not require using knitting needles.
The yarn bomb adorns the viewing platform railings and steps at Endeavour Square, near Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
BGKC members created the work entitled: ‘Braided Traditions: Common Threads’ over six weekly workshops that incorporate upcycled industrial scaffolding material, ribbon, netting, rope textures and other repurposed textiles.
The workshop was led by founder of @BlackHairStories, Korantema Anyimadu.
The materials were sourced locally from East London-based textile reuse hubs. They include the Children’s Scrap Project and Yodomo, a Hackney Wick-based business that identifies waste materials that can be reused by the maker community.
Did you know that yarn bombing: is a form of street art made by covering objects in public spaces with knitted material
The installation is free for visitors to view until 16 April 2024.
Inspired by Black hair creativity
A second set of BGKC yarn bomb tree designs is to be launched on 16 January 2024 at Endeavour Square, in collaboration with five individual knitwear designers.
Seven tree trunks will be yarn bombed by five BGKC knitwear designer members. Informed by the title: ‘Braided Traditions: Common Threads’, each designer aims to explore various yarn textures and techniques to showcase their individual relationship with the subject of ‘hair’ through knitting.
Yarn bombing tree designs crafted by: “Breanna” by Peju Obasa - @pejuobasa, "Braids For My Girls" by Sheree Robinson - @Shereerarobinson, “Combing Through” by Mia Rodney - @allbitsknit, “Country Plant” by Fatima Duke-Pratt - @unduku_luku and “Gara ndiruke” (sit and let me braid) by Fadzi Sango - @sinoia_.
“With its origins in subversive street art and political resistance, our yarn bomb takes its inspirational cue from the ever-changing, and creatively rich world of Black women’s hair,” said BGKC co-founder Sicgmone Kludje.
“Referencing the photography of Okhai Ojeikere and inspired by the vivid colours and textures found in Black hair shops across East London. We wanted to reflect and showcase our members and their individual stories centred on their hair.”
Yarn Bomb location: Endeavour Square, Stratford Cross, E20 1JN; Stratford station; Westfield Stratford City exit.
About Stratford Cross
Stratford Cross sits at the cross-section of everything that East London has to offer; nestled between the 80,000-capacity London Stadium, 560 acres of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the creative institutions of the East Bank and a vast array of shopping, dining, culture, and art.
About Black Girl Knit Club
Black Girl Knit Club empowers Black women to unite through craft.
Launched in 2019, by creative industry professionals, Sicgmone Kludje and Vea Koranteng, to create safe spaces for Black women including creatives to practise ‘mindful and meditative making’: to gather, share stories and inspire one another through making.
Core member activities include workshops, online learning content and collaborative maker sessions.
In 2022, BGKC released their first book: ‘Conscious Crafts: Knitting – 20 Mindful Makes to Reconnect Head, Heart and Hands.’
Brand collaborations include Liberty London, BBC, Samsung, and Crafts Council.
All images are credited to BGKC. This article is an original piece based on a press release and rewritten by AKADi Magazine. The contents of this page cannot be reproduced without permission.