The Berkeley artist who goes by the nom de knitting "Streetcolor" provided a temporary design upgrade for public transit on International Yarnbombing Day, June 11, 2011.
Q: Why did you knit a seat cover for BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit)?
Streetcolor: I wanted to make something big and ambitious for International Yarnbombing Day on June 11, 2011 — something a little theatrical. I had been reading about the sorry state of the and I thought it would be a nice shock to put something intensely colorful over the sagging seats. I also thought people in and San Francisco would find it interesting.
Q: What is International Yarnbombing Day?
Streetcolor: A woman in Alberta, Canada, named Joann Matvichuk woke up one day and announced that June 11 would be International Yarnbombing Day and she put it up on Facebook and knitters all over the world all started knitting. That's a great story, I think – to announce a big project and have so many folks get into it. There were hundreds of people that posted yarnbombs on Facebook.
Q: How long did it take to knit the seat cover?
Streetcolor: I knit really solidly for a month and hysterically for a week. I spun the yarn too.
Q: What inspired you?
Streetcolor: The idea was inspired by Ish Knits, who yarnbombed the Blue Line in Philadelphia, and I liked the idea of commenting on her work. The colors and patterns came from David Hockney.
Q: Did you leave the piece on BART?
Streetcolor: Actually I made it as a slipcover so that I could take it on and off. Originally I planned to sew the piece to the seat, but as I knit on and on, I started to like that seat cover and I knew that BART would cut it off and throw it away. I wanted to be able to make it into a performance piece and put it on lots of different trains. So I put it on the seat and took pictures and then sat on it and rode to San Francisco.
Q: How was the ride?
Streetcolor: It was terrific! The knitting was very clean and comfortable to sit on — I was very amused to realize I had made something functional after all!
Streetcolor's blog can be found at www.streetcolor.wordpress.com