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Knit Wits Spin a Good Bridge Yarn

Friday, August 2, 2013

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Protective coatings do a great job of keeping corrosion off bridges, but they don't exactly convey a warm, fuzzy feeling.

For that, fortunately, there's Knit the Bridge, a grassroots community-art project that will be bringing its soft and colorful worldview to Pittsburgh's Andy Warhol Bridge next week.

Yarn bombing - Melbourne
Photos unless indicated: Knit the Bridge

A trestle in Melbourne, Australia, gets the yarn-bombing treatment. The Andy Warhol Bridge installation is expected to be the largest in the United States.

The group's slogan: "Knitting Pittsburgh communities together, one bridge at a time."

Yarn Bombing

The Warhol Bridge project brings "yarn bombing" to a new structure and scale. Yarn bombing is a kind of temporary public art installation that covers structures in colorful knitted or crocheted displays of color.

Tanks, trees, buses, cars, statues, monuments and other structures worldwide have all been yarn bombed. (More yarn-bombing project photos are available here.)

Warhol Bridge
TheZachMorrisExperience / Wikimedia (left); Knit the Bridge (right)

Pittsburgh's 87-year-old Andy Warhol Bridge will be sporting a colorful new look from Aug. 12 to Sept. 6.

Knit the Bridge aims to be the largest yarn-bombing installation in the United States.

Community Effort

In Pittsburgh, Knit the Bridge received the unanimous approval of the Allegheny County Council.

The project "celebrates the history of Pittsburgh as a city of bridges and steel as well as the region’s thriving, contemporary arts scene," organizers say.

The installation is part of Fiberart International 2013, a triennial juried exhibition sponsored by the Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh.

Yarn Bomb Tree Yarn Bomb Ski Lift

The yarn-bombing trend reaches the heights of public art worldwide: in treetops and on a German ski lift.

More than 1,200 volunteers from more than 100 organizations are contributing funds, materials, knitted panels, labor or other support to the project, which will be installed Aug. 10 and 11. A community celebration will be held on the bridge Aug. 25 to thank donors.

"Making those connections, so people sit down and knit and crochet together or they know that there are people out there that are working toward the same common goal," Knit the Bridge leader Amanda Gross told WTAE-TV.

Bridge Blankets

Project partners and participants range from neighborhood and church knitting circles to universities, local businesses, museums, public entities and private corporations.

The Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh will use machine-knitted blankets to cover the bridge's superstructure while individual blankets knitted by several thousand volunteers will be used to cover the bridge's walkways. Volunteers are also knitting covers for the railings, according to designs and specifications established by Knit the Bridge.

Yarn Bombing Sydney

Sydney, Australia, takes steps to accommodate the public art craze.

When the installation is removed Sept. 7 and 8, all of the blankets will go to nursing homes, homeless shelters, and other charities.

About the Bridge

Opened in June 1926, the Andy Warhol Bridge was known as the 7th Street Bridge until 2005, when it was renamed on the 10th anniversary of the Andy Warhol Museum.

The 1,061-foot-long steel bridge, named for the famous pop-art Pittsburgh native, is one of three parallel Allegheny River bridges known as "The Three Sisters."

The three self-anchored suspension bridges were the first self-anchored suspension spans built in the United States.


Tagged categories: Artists; Bridges; Color; Design; Protective coatings; Steel

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