Atlas Translations’ Director, Clare Suttie, has helped to make St Albans Postboxes a feature in recent years, thanks to yarnbombing!
The Art Of Yarnbombing
What is yarnbombing? The art of yarnbombing uses knitting and crocheting, with bold patterns and eye catching designs, to create unique displays in public spaces. Yarnbombing was first reported in May 2004 in the Netherlands and the art is now becoming popular worldwide. And it certainly is an art.
There’s even an International Yarn Bombing Day, (8 June, as you ask). Communities across the world are filled with knitting and crochet artwork, hung from trees and signs, while lampposts and bike racks can be fitted with yarn cosies.
St Albans Postboxes and the Yarnbombers
There’s no doubt that the crafts of knitting and crochet have grown in popularity again, after being in hibernation for a number of years. Knitting and crochet culture has grown from knitting at home or doing crochet on the train, to knitting cafés and shops that offer classes to people of all skill levels – like wonderful independent stores like Cositas in St Albans.
The talented team of yarnbombers in St Albans are a diverse bunch of volunteers including talented crafters and artisans, business sponsors, as well as teams of volunteers putting the Postbox Toppers, caring for them and then taking them down at the end of the campaign.
So how did this all start for Atlas Translations’ Director Clare Suttie? Back in January 2018, Clare met a lady from the Secret Society of Hertford Crafters. They had recently yarnbombed Hertford and raised lots of money for their local hospice.
The idea really appealed to Clare and she mentioned it to her friend Candy. That summer Candy sent Clare a photo of a Postbox Topper that she had made – on a postbox near her house – and the rest, as they say, is history.
The First St Albans Postbox Toppers
In December 2018, Clare and Anna from Atlas Translations along with Candy, trudged the streets of St Albans putting 23 Postbox Toppers onto Postboxes in St Albans. The response was fantastic, the Postbox Toppers raised over £4,000 and the team vowed to do it again!
St Albans Postboxes and the Postbox Toppers for the Community
Clare loves yarnbombing the St Albans community. Crafters can make something small in their own home and it comes to life in the outside world for everyone to enjoy. The crochet and creative team enjoy the social engagement as much as using their creative side. It’s surely a form of personal expression, as any other public art.
People love the yarn work and it brings a smile to everyone’s face. Clare hopes that more communities may be inspired to take part and join in. Forget old notions of working with wool – the Postbox Topper creations are extraordinary! Most of them are crochet – with a little knitting, sewing and embroidery.
St Albans city centre is pretty much like many other city and yarnbombing brings colour and humour, especially in the winter months. You won’t see the same yarn bomb twice – they are handmade and truly unique. Yarnbombing can tell stories. It’s not perfect, or polished and that also adds to its charm. It’s art for everyone, truly accessible!
Lots of people ask about rules and permission and of course, St Albans Postbox Toppers Yarnbombers always check these very carefully. Clare and Candy, at the helm of the project, avoid private property and will not harm any plants or trees. They also make sure that all the Postbox Toppers are taken down at the end of the project, so you’d never know that the yarn bombers had been there. Work is not thrown away, instead it’s carefully kept, repaired and reused or reworked for another year.
Christmas 2019 and beyond
In 2019 the St Albans Postbox Toppers campaign raised just over £12,325.99 – incredible!
Will Clare and Candy be doing it again? They’re already plotting the next yarnbomb for summer 2020, before doing the Christmas St Albans Postbox Toppers again.