Crocheted Street Art Makes For Unexpected Splashes Of Color In Stockholm

by Laura Caseley
Laura is a writer, illustrator, and artist living in New York City.

Street art can be divisive when it comes to how it’s viewed. Some people find it to be interesting and engaging, and enjoy that it makes a statement or gives character to a neighborhood.

Others don’t like it as much and see it as distracting or unsightly.

But whatever side you come down on, street art never fails to surprise us. Part of its nature is to appear, as if by magic, in unexpected places. We think of art as being sequestered in a museum or gallery, and street artists all over the world want to bring it into public spaces.

Street artist Julia Riordan does this with her art, but her creations have a cuddly edge that makes them universally appealing: All of her pieces are made of yarn!

Yarn as a method of graffiti has caught on in the past couple of years, and has been popular all over the world. It’s not permanent, so no property is damaged, and it takes a traditionally quaint and domestic craft, and brings it out into the public to be seen in a fun, new, and arty way. And it appeals to crafters of all ages, including one 104-year-old woman from England who loves decorating her town.

Check out some of Riordan’s work below, and if you crochet, try your hand at making a little public piece of your own!

[H/T: Colossal]

Julia Riordan, known professionally as Julia Rio, frequently leaves her artwork all over the city of Stockholm, Sweden, where she’s based.

Her artwork takes the form of colorful crocheted projects that often use local landmarks and features as their inspiration, like this rainbow “splat” that looks like it’s pouring out of a pipe.

Riordan started crocheting and knitting when she was 10 years old.

She describes creating projects that “resembled beanies and scarves that her family was kind enough to wear, pretending it was the real thing.”

In 2012, after honing her craft for years, she started a line of knitwear, creating beanies with bright and cheerful designs.

In 2013, she completed her first “yarn bombing,” or crocheted street art project.

The thrill of installing public art (without the whole property damaging aspect), appealed to Riordan, so she kept coming up with new projects to display in London and Stockholm.

Some of her pieces are more like traditional street art and placed on walls. These are more like wall hangings, though, and can be removed.

Sometimes, she leaves little messages to remind passersby what’s important in life.

Sometimes, she tackles big subjects, but always in a friendly, accessible way.

And sometimes, she just likes to add a little decorative flair to otherwise ho-hum buildings.

Public statues aren’t safe, either. Here’s one wearing one of Riordan’s headbands.

Even Riordan’s grandmother got in on her projects, and commissioned this yarn bombing for her mailbox.

“Now, she’s the trendsetter of the neighborhood,” Riordan says.

(And that’s a crochet hook she’s holding.)

Today, Riordan knits and crochets all the time and is always looking to explore new ways of creating. She often leaves yarn creations in public spaces, including on trees, fences, railings, and other places where people will see them.

And sometimes, she gets a little sassy.

Other times, she just says what we’re all thinking.

Her artwork shows us, though, that there’s beauty and joy in the unexpected, and that when you bring a “traditional” art form into a new place, all kinds of interesting things can happen.

Oh, and her beanies are pretty adorable, too. You can buy one for yourself on her website (the prices are in Swedish kroner), and be sure to keep up with her latest projects on Instagram and Tumblr, too.

And if you know someone looking for some new crochet project ideas, SHARE this art to get them inspired!