There is a transformation that occurs when I cover an inanimate object with soft hand-made material. This interaction changes the object without taking away its identity or paralysing its original function.
The exploration of environmental change drives me: provoking the world to be a more challenging, unconventional, and interesting place
– Magda Sayeg
Sayeg’s untitled work in Sussex Lane consisted of yellow, blue, green, grey, pink and red rectangular yarn panels fixed to the vertical faces of laneway’s steps, as well as striped pink and grey yarn covers on the bollards at either end of the lane.
Viewed from the bottom of the laneway near the junction with Sussex Street, the knitted panels on the steps formed a symmetrical, repeating pattern, with the potted plants on the landings between the four flights of stairs forming a focal point in each section of the pattern.
The bright colours and soft textures of Sayeg’s artwork formed a striking contrast with the hard lines and muted tones of the surrounding architecture. It highlighted the inherent charm and character of the laneway–without interfering with its history and intended function– pulling pedestrians through the intimate space and making them experience the laneway in a new and exciting way.
Sayeg is widely recognised as the world-wide founder of the ‘knit graffiti’ or ‘yarnbombing’ movement, in response to the dehumanising qualities of the urban environment in which she lived.
By taking knitting out of the home and into the streets, Sayeg added a previously unused material to the world of street art, inspiring a whole generation of knitters to bring warmth and colour to the urban landscape of concrete and steel by inserting temporary homemade textile artworks.
Wherever it appears, the work of Sayeg and her followers is an unexpected and delightful surprise, causing people to stop and take a moment to notice new things about their surroundings. Her work in Sussex Lane was no exception.
Magda Sayeg is a textile artist who lives and works in Austin, Texas.
Sayeg founded in international ‘guerrilla knitting’ movement in 2005, after having the idea of knitting a cover for the door handle of her Houston boutique. Inspiring thousands of artists all across the world, her work has included numerous large-scale installations as well as solo and group exhibitions in Europe, USA and Australia.
Today Sayeg continues to fulfil commissions and install work in venues all around the world, as well as hosting workshops, teaching classes and leading community projects.