Stencils in the City

Crime Stoppers launched a complete fail of a project in St.John's this summer. The idea was to remind folks of the important and anonymous role they play in keeping their cities safe.In reality though, the posters portrayed St. John's as a dangerous, crime riddled back-alley; not the charming jelly-bean town that Newfoundland tourism has been so diligently promoting.The campaign was particularly offensive to downtown business owners who felt the posters painted an unfair portrait of the city-so within days they were all torn down. The mood had been set though, and news reached not only Twillingate, but the mainland too. You can read about it here.With a trip to the city on the horizon a cheeky idea started to formulate.Inspired by the fabulous Ladies Fancywork Society use of doilies and spray paint, I went to town...literally and figuratively!I made three doilies with positive, everyday messages; messages that one would be quite likely to encounter throughout Newfoundland.I installed them on Duckworth and an alley off Water Street and then went home.By the time I arrived back in Twill, I had messages from three CBC reporters. They were rather excited by my response to the campaign and wanted to chat. You can read about it here.Of course, I was all fired up about doilies and spray paint then, so I made one for Gander too.From what I can tell, they're all still up too! I'll be back in St. John's in a couple weeks- installing art for the Out of Earshot Festival so will confirm (and remove) then.And now I want to know, what message-on-a-doily would you like to see in your community? Or better yet, what message does your community need to see? **Disclaimer: If you suggest something that can fit my doily, I might just make it for you! 😎I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas, so holler at me here in the comment section, or let's connect on insta- and then you can show me what you're making too!-Rock out

Interview with Montana Banksy

Guys, I am absolutely delighted to share this interview with you! The experience of learning about and sharing Yarn Vandalette's story was so uplifting and fun, that of course I wanted more. Instagram makes it super easy to connect, and interviews let you get to the good stuff, so I suppose it's only natural that I would want to continue to use these platforms to share the inspiring work of some of my favourite guerrilla artists. Today's blog post is all about Montana Banksy, an anonymous artist who makes large-scale sculptures from natural materials that will literally stop you in your tracks!Read on to learn and see more of her work:**********************************************************************************Tell us about yourself and what you do:As Montana Banksy, I make giant land art sculptures, anonymously, and in secret, out of colored river rocks and other natural materials. They are so big that you can walk across them! My largest so far is 35 feet across and I put them in places where people who are enjoying the outdoors might stumble across them by accident.monsterAfter a year or two, the river washes them away, or weeds and erosion overtake them, and then they are gone. Many of my pieces are animals, but the giant trout are what I'm most well known for because people who fish insist that they bring them good luck! I also make mandalas, compasses and spirals, and whatever else seizes my imagination.River rock troutI live in Montana, and my favorite place to work is along the banks of the Yellowstone River. The rocks are varied and beautiful and so is the scenery. And because of how many of my sculptures have anonymously appeared on the 'banks' of the Yellowstone River, a local blogger called me "our own Montana Banksy", and the name stuck.Spiral SunriseNow, I sign each piece I make with a signature stone that has a large, ornate 'M' on it, as well as the name of the piece and the year it was made. I do this in alcohol ink, so it fades with time along with the sculpture.banksymandalasIt is very fun and interesting to see what mother nature does to my art as time goes past. And never once has a sculpture of mine been vandalized by humans, though the signature stones do go missing a lot! :)mandalaprogressHow many pieces have you made? I think there are about 15 to 20 of my pieces still on the ground right now, and there are many more that exist only in photos now. It's a cycle. I create them and Mother Nature erases them and gives me a fresh canvas with fresh rocks every time!BanksyanimalsTell us about your process...It takes me anywhere from a week to complete the smaller pieces (under 8 feet) to an entire month to complete some of the larger ones (15-35 feet), which includes the days I spend collecting and stashing different colored rocks.I like to try to drop the entire piece without ever being seen, so I don't actually start to place the stones until I have amassed a large collection of rocks, ready to use. Then, I work fast to avoid being caught in the middle of construction. I also work fast to avoid Mother Nature interfering before I finish the piece.processA few years ago I was about halfway through a 15 foot horse, when the spring runoff hit the Yellowstone River and the horse went under before I finished it! So, needless to say, when I drop a piece I work as quickly as possible, and even so, it can still take me a many hours!UnfinishedhorseMy biggest piece, at 35 feet, is the Medicine Wheel Compass, and just placing the stones for it took 40 hours. But, with the beautiful scenery and the river, those are easy hours for me!RealcolorsHow do people find your work?Whenever I finish a new piece of art, I post it on Instagram with the GPS coordinates for the people who make a point of seeking them out like a treasure hunt.Some people have told me that they like to try to guess where the installations are from the scenery in my videos. Other people ask me directly where they are (and I tell them!), and other times I have been nearby to witness someone unintentionally find one. That is the best!MTBanksyFoxBeing able to interact with the people who find my art, without having to reveal my identity, is wonderful. People post them on social media a lot and someone will almost always comment "You found a Montana Banksy!" The comments are always so lovely and positive.It fills me with joy knowing others enjoy my art so much too. Between my amazingly supportive husband, and sons, and the people who encourage me on Instagram, I get a lot of support to do what I do. I feel so lucky!How did you get into this totally unique style of guerrilla art? I have always been an artist. I can't remember a time that I wasn't drawing. But I come from a family of scientists and engineers, so I have deep interests in those subjects as well. So, I ended up leaving art school and got my BS in geology instead.
As a geologist, I spend a lot of time on the river looking at rocks. I used to fly fish, and really loved it, but I found myself spending more time playing with the rocks than fish, so I eventually told my husband to stop buying me the fishing license he got for me every year because I preferred to spend my time making rock sculptures! That was when my art started appearing pretty regularly on the shores of the Yellowstone and in the surrounding areas.FishTailWhat has been the communities response?I hadn't thought to share my land art sculptures with anyone beyond the people who accidentally found them, until they showed up on the front page of the newspaper a few years ago! The caption said " of press time the artist is still unknown." Ha! I could have claimed my art then, but I decided not to. I thought it would be more fun for people to NOT know who the artist was.IMG_1723The response to my art was amazing though, and very touching! I had no idea how many people loved what I had been doing! That's when I started the Instagram account so I could more effectively share my art. I didn't really think it would get much attention as my sculptures are gigantic and an Instagram post shrinks them to tiny proportions! But, happily, I was wrong.FishTailHeartPeople from all over the world have told me how much they love what I do and how it inspires them. They send me photos of their daughters, inspired by my work, making art with rocks, and I get all misty eyed! There is nothing better than that for an artist! I really love doing this and have no intention of stopping any time soon. It makes people so happy, and gives me so much joy to do. It's a win-win.********************************************************************************Each time I read through this I feel more imaginative and inspired; How about you? Thanks so much to Montana Banksy for taking the time to share her story and for all the positive, creative energy she's putting out there. I feel lucky to share the good vibrations! Be sure to follow her work on Instagram @montanabanksy and definitely let us both know if you are inspired to rock some sculptures yourself! And if you follow any particularly great guerrilla artists who you'd like to hear more from- or are one yourself, hit me up! You knows I love hearing from you!

Crafting A Mantra: Will Can Do

Wisdom bomb, mantra bomb, craftbomb...I dont know what to call it but I like it! I heard a quote recently about how if you knew how powerful your thoughts were, you'd never have a negative thought again. This newest 'craftbomb' is inspired by this idea.I often use symbols in my crafty street art to spread an idea or message but rarely words. This is partly because I have been travelling through Asia where English is not the primary language; but also because knitted shapes are able to communicate non-verbally rather well. That said, my knitting mojo has been low since I finished the yarnbomb for Vietnam, so I needed to switch things up. Fortunately, my backpack-crafting kit is able to accommodate both knitting and embroidery and I had a project on back order. FYI: Embroidery is an excellent craft for long term travel on account of its very impressive portability. One additional point for Embroidery please!img_1264Now back to the importance of words. Words have a powerful effect on us, both consciously and subconsciously. Some people leverage this wisdom, by repeating valuable and empowering messages, or mantras to themselves during times of frustration or struggle. It may not seem like a radical technique, but you can be sure it's an effective one. In the short-term, you have a strategy that can boost your energy and morale when you're ready to give up. In the long-term, your consistent efforts pay off in the form of an empowered world view. Whats not to love about that?img_1265These two shirts were completed on request by my favourite bearded man. They aren't my typical, street-arts and craft style, but they do trumpet a message for all to see. My hope is that they prime everyone who sees them to think positive, empowering thoughts. Just having them around the bungalow has definitely been an inspiring force for me. I've been applying the Will Can Do mantra to my crafting goals (and challenges) and come out feeling very ambitious. If you want a visual of the power of positive thinking, check out this wild video. This little guy clearly lives by the Will Can Do philosphy *pun intended!Will Can Do is a powerful mantra, one that can both pick you up and propel you forward when you need it. Anybody out there use a mantra? If not, give Will Can Do a try next time you feel challenged and be sure to check back in with your results in the comment section below.  I am on both Twitter and Instagram and would love to hear from you.Also, I am experimenting with a new look on the blog so take a tour and let me know what you think.