Sunday, June 9, 2013

TAG Interviews Darlyn Susan Yee

Darlyn Susan Yee, a TAG artist since 2007, is part of a unique public art project: CAFAM Granny Squared. Her group, Yarn Bombing Los Angeles, has covered the facade of the Craft and Folk Art Museum with hand worked granny squares that were contributed from all over the world.
[all photos courtesy of Yarn Bombing Los Angeles]
We asked her some questions about Granny Squared:

How does it feel to pull off such a large project?
Very rewarding to have a chance to work on a project with over 500 artists and crafters from 49 states and 25 countries! As a core member of Yarn Bombing Los Angeles (YBLA), I’ve had the opportunity to assist with many aspects of the CAFAM: Granny Squared project.
Explain how you crowd sourced.
In October 2012, we received the green light from the Craft And Folk Art Museum and began collaborating on crocheted modular design elements. We refined these elements during our business meetings and with others during public outreach sessions at the museum. With a definite installation plan in mind, YBLA distributed a call for 5 inch x 5 inch granny squares in specific colors.
The LA Times and LA Street Art Gallery wrote articles about our plans, and we began receiving lots of granny square submissions. Documentation of the squares received was the most labor intensive but vital part of the project. When people saw images of their friends’ squares, they became even more excited about submitting their own! Once we saw that we would reach the targeted number of squares, we began hosting stitching parties and events to assemble the squares into sections, and then stitch the sections onto metal frames. In the final weeks before installation an intern joined us to post our call for essays about our project, and to launch a YBLA twitter account.
Did social media play an important role?
Which platforms did you use?

Social media was definitely the key to expanding our community. We used the Yarn Bombing Los Angeles website and newsletter, Facebook, and Twitter. We also reached out to artists and crafters with more specific interests through Ravelry, LinkedIn Groups and Meetup groups.

Any surprises?
While I am generally happy working on my artwork in the solitude of my studio, I found myself craving the social aspects of this project: the public outreach events; actually meeting the friends of friends and followers; the lively discussions around the table as we learned about each other and our shared interests.

Explain the crowd funding process.

In December 2012, we launched a two-month fundraising effort through USA Projects. The pressure was on - if we didn’t meet our fundraising goal, we wouldn’t have received anything. But our ever growing community of artists and crafters wanted to make the project happen as much as we did!

Since this was an installation on a public building, how did you get permits?
YBLA hired a structural engineer and contractor for the project so we had a bit of help in navigating the permit process. Their expertise proved invaluable as we prepared for meetings with city and county officials. I believe the biggest hurdle we faced was that a temporary project like this had never been done before. There was no precedent, therefore it was challenging to pin down the applicable codes.
I hear you received a surplus of granny squares. What's happening with them?
For the second phase of the granny square project YBLA is partnering with Downtown Women's Center (DWC). We will be creating blankets for DWC residents out of the extra squares. We will also be creating a series of public installations on the facade of the DWC building that includes a series of Urban Letters installations and another granny square arrangement. We will also be developing a product that DWC residents can produce and sell in the DWC store MADE, and working with the women to develop skills related to product making.
What's next?
We expect the granny square project to continue through December 2013. In the meantime, we will be coordinating stitching events to turn squares into blankets. Our next special event is a Stitch-In for International Yarn Bombing Day at One Colorado Old Pasadena on Sunday June 9th, 11am-2pm. And we meet at the Craft And Folk Art Museum on the 3rd Saturday of every month from 2-5pm.
Granny Squared will be installed on the Craft and Folk Art Museum 
at 5814 Wilshire Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90036 until July 1st.
Read more here.

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