Yarn Gurl strategically strikes in the most unusual of places. Her art pieces can be found on West River Street in Truckee where 35 beautiful yet haunting colorful, crocheted eyes stare out from behind a chained link fence or on the stop sign by the stables along Squaw Valley Road where a row of red hearts winds up the pole — a reminder that love is everywhere. From Grass Valley to Reno, Nev., you can find her work: a crocheted rainbow on a fence or a bike rack with a colorful sweater or hearts on a stop sign.
Who is Yarn Gurl? She’s the alter ego of a local artist who wishes to remain anonymous.
“My purpose is to remind people to stop and smell the roses, take notice and be more present. I want to bring joy, have people stop and laugh at life.”
— Yarn Gurl
“It’s part of my persona, the more playful part that forgives myself with my art,” she explains over the phone, wanting to keep her identity a secret. “[Gurl] is the playful part of me. It’s like the maiden.”
Yarn Gurl’s art is an expression of her heart and emotions. She acknowledges that the forum of public art gives her the freedom to get her ideas out and refine them.
“I pass a stop sign and I think it looks cold, I thought it needed a sweater. I like to make people smile when they drive by a rainbow stop sign,” she says.
The eyes on West River Street were a gift for her former partner’s 35th birthday. She’s still processing their breakup. The random works of art need to be thought out and planned. She knows stop signs are 6 feet or 8 feet tall, but she says some of the larger pieces take more time to think through. She buys her yarn from thrift stores, garage sales and Craigslist, reusing and upcycling whenever possible, especially acrylic yarn.
“People don’t use acrylic yarn for clothing, but it makes a good stop sign sweater,” she says.
She yarn bombs (a form of removable yarn graffiti) in different places but each place she leaves her stitches is a place of personal significance. It offers her an outlet to express her grief, pain and joys in life, but also to make an impact.
“My purpose is to remind people to stop and smell the roses, take notice and be more present. I want to bring joy, have people stop and laugh at life,” she says. “I like to be a little mischievous, not causing harm or permanent damage.”
At Burning Man she made small crocheted hearts and small pieces and attached them to people’s bikes or art pieces on the playa as a gift from her heart.
Both of her parents are artists who work with numerous mediums and she has followed suit. Her mother is a jeweler and her father makes ceramics. Yarn Gurl learned to crochet in kindergarten and both her mother and grandmother helped teach her crocheting techniques as she grew.
“You must be so patient. I learned patience through crocheting,” she says.
I asked her, “Who is Yarn Gurl?”
She responded, “ I don’t know. I am redefining myself. I use art as a means to process the pain, angry stuff and heartbreak in life.”
When she’s yarn bombing, she feels freedom and joy. Her mantra “dropping stitches wherever I go” is yet another playful side of this creative woman on her journey as she wears her heart on her sleeve and shares it with the world. | @YarnGurl