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Knit’n’Tag – 130 metres of knit graffiti and over a hundred dreams


People were inspired to dream around the dressed-up trees. City residents shared their ideas about the Central Library at the Knit’n’Tag event held in Helsinki’s Vanha kirkkopuisto Park on 25 August. Suggestions, hopes and dreams were hung on two trees to whisper in the wind and minds. The trees were decorated and united by a communal chain of yarn crocheted in workshops during the summer. Its soft colours and hard “chain-like” appearance invited people to fiddle with it and to continue the chain. Many passers-by sat down to try out their crocheting skills under the Dream Tree of the Central Library.

Dozens of associations, organisations, groups and individuals participated in the Knit’n’Tag event in addition to the Central Library and the whole event was created by the Youth Department and Novita. Great-looking, colourful knit graffiti trees bathed in the warm light of the end of summer. There was a great atmosphere of crocheting, creation and do-it-yourself. Patches, butterflies, flowers, owls, skulls, slogans, poems, cobweb, lace and odd socks – only the tree tops were the limit for ideas.

City residents created 130 metres of knit graffiti

Minna Särelä, founder of the Paloni design concept shop, and product designer Molla Mills, a.k.a. Mari Leppälä formed the dynamic duo behind the Dream Tree of the Central Library. Molla came up with the yarn chain idea and she crochets almost daily. ‘Many people tried crocheting for the first time at our workshops: an American tourist, a Korean girl and even a few lads gave crocheting a try,’ says Molla. ‘These two trees have a total of 130 metres of crocheted loops, some 2,500 loops in total. They embody the joy of creation!’

The library and knit graffiti go well together. ‘The library is a source of inspiration. The joy of creating with your own hands, humour and play engender a sense of “giving it your all”. A crochet hook in your hand makes sharing and interacting easy. All the participants were a part of something bigger just for a moment. The idea of a library space is built around a sense of community. And a knit graffiti is also a form of freedom of speech and expression. Who owns the urban space? What is everyman’s urban art?’ continues Virve Miettinen, Participation Planner of the Central Library.

Library dreams sprout in the shade of the trees

Two friends pass by and, although they are not up for crocheting, they are eager to share their visions under the tree. ‘The purpose of a dream library is to educate “by accident”. It would be great if people could, for example, participate in public debates, have a cup of coffee and, as a “snack”, explore what the shelves have to offer. The new library in Turku is a good example of the library of the future,’ they say. Sari who has come to photograph the tree creations hopes that the library will include a dedicated world of stories for younger readers. ‘A safe place without any older kids, dimensioned to suit little children. Little ones could adventure peacefully in the different worlds offered by the library, books and learning.’ Two-year-old Miika chuckles in agreement.

The sunny park environment encouraged many people to plan natural elements, garden spaces and a lively environment for the Central Library. Also the idea of creating things with your own hands and doing things together were strongly present. People inspired by the event suggested that the library should include, among other things:

* A cosy and comfortable handicrafts room or knitting corner where anyone could crochet such things as communal urban works of art while listening to audio books and drinking tea

* The library as a “stepping stone” for young designers: work space, interaction space and exhibition space – a place to be seen.

* Green, garden-like facilities, transference from indoors to outdoors, wood architecture

* Outdoor film showings in the library’s garden

* A house of connecting stories for city residents to meet in

* A place for wedding receptions

* Things to do together, food for the soul and shared presence


Read more about the knit graffiti day in the blog of Paloni  and vote for the most gorgeous and thought-provoking tree at the Knit’n’Tag website. The knit graffiti and Dream Tree of the Central Library are on display in Vanha kirkkopuisto Park until 25 September.


Text: Siru Valleala
Photos: Susanne Ranta-Kiiski, Minna Särelä, Virve Miettinen

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