Communities

104-Year-Old Yarn-Bomber is the “World’s Oldest Street Artist”

by Jed Oelbaum

September 25, 2015

Yarn-bombing, possibly the world’s most twee form of vandalism, has become a world-wide phenomenon, blanketing the planet’s cities with soft, warm, woven symbols of artistic defiance and dissent. Like graffiti and other forms of proactive public art, yarn-bombing can be a boldly unilateral creative force and a fun surprise for people on the street. Unlike graffiti, yarn-bombing, which covers and wraps public spaces with knit or crocheted creations, can easily be cut off with a safety scissor if necessary.

Now, a 104-year-old great-grandmother in Scotland is being called “the world’s oldest street artist” for her participation in the recent yarn-bombing of her town. According to the Daily Dot, a group called the Souter Stormers decided to knit the town red after being denied funding for an event in conjunction with the local YES Arts Festival. Grace Brett, the oldest member of the group, who has six grandchildren and 14 (!) great-grandchildren, has been knitting for most of her life, though she only recently decided to take her talents to the streets. “I liked seeing my work showing with everyone else and thought the town looked lovely,” Brett told the Daily Record earlier this month. 

“She thinks it is funny to be called a street artist,” said Brett’s daughter Daphne.

In the works almost a year, the yarn-bombing campaign decorated 46 landmarks in Scotland's Borders County, hitting the local towns of Selkirk, Ettrickbridge and Yarrow. The Souter Stormers covered poles, trees, benches, telephone booths, and a statue of Sir Walter Scott with their creative designs. And according to the Facebook page of a local business called Penelope Textile Limited, the work, while unauthorized, was still roundly appreciated. According to the store’s owner, “…the response has been tremendous, creating grins and gasps all round, and bringing the community of Selkirk together in their surprise and admiration for the works.”

Brett, for her part, says being a part of the Souter Stormers is “very nice.” And though most of the rest of the group are also older than the typical street artist—many members are over 60—they seem particularly proud of their only century-plus contributor.

“How wonderful it has been to have a lady who must be Britain’s oldest guerrilla knitter on board,” Kay Ross, a spokesperson for the group told the Daily Record.

All yarn-bombing images via Facebook user Penelope Textiles Limited

Display image via screenshot from YouTube User SWNS TV

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104-Year-Old Yarn-Bomber is the “World’s Oldest Street Artist”