Someone is going out of his or her way to make sure tree trunks and sign stakes are kept warm and stylish this winter. I first heard it in a brief story on NPR: Some graffiti artist is plastering trees and public spaces in West Cape May, New Jersey with . . . . knitting! That’s right. Knitting.
Since no one knows the identity of the so-called “Midnight Knitter,” it has been assumed to be linked to the Salty Knits Facebook page (where I swiped this photo of the brightly colored tree socks). The last article I read said the Facebook page had 300 fans, but when I went to the site, there were almost 1500 fans.
Here’s what I love about these guerrilla knits (and I am using the plural because I know there are many others out there).
1. A craft form usually considered “women’s work” has been removed from it’s traditional place in society and transformed. It is no longer functional, but instead is sculptural and decorative. Also, knitting is usually for private use as clothing or to keep one warm as a coverlet. These guerrilla knitted forms are made for the public. They are intended for everyone to appreciate at the same level.
2. It’s a surprise! Residents of West Cape May never know when or where a new knit will appear, nor do they know the face and name of the knitter. We expect to see art in a gallery or museum, but not on the trunk of a tree.
Some people don’t like surprises, but I opine that anyone who scoffs at the Midnight Knitter is a curmudgeon. Yes, I know that cities have laws and rules and I love natural forms, too. But c’mon . . . Have some fun in your life! Are we really that inflexible? Which brings me to . . .
3. The guerrilla knitting makes people happy. Surprises make many people happy! Brightly-colored stripes and patterns on the trunk of a tree should be enough to put a smile on anyone’s face.
Really, can we ask any more of art?