- Words by Nicole Gordon Levine and Photos by Erica
The Crochet Queen, London Kaye
It was great catching up with you last week at The William Vale Park. Your butterfly wings were simply beautiful and picture perfect. Do you think about your audience being able to take interactive pictures with your work when creating the pieces?
It was so great seeing you as well. Thank you for the kind words. I had the audience in mind when I was crocheting the wings. Most of my pieces haven't been interactive, but just recently I realized how fun it is to involve the public. My last few large yarn bombs have been interactive.
You are well known for your incredibly intricate " yarn bombs" and I would like to know when you first started doing it?
I started doing this about 4 years ago now! Which is insane...time has gone so fast. I met Olek, the superstar of crochet art and she inspired me to make more than scarves and beanies.
The first Yarnbomb I did was simply a scarf I had crocheted and I went and wrapped it around a tree right outside of my apartment at the time in Bedstuy. It is still there!
Did you do any street art before yarn bombs?
I was a big fan of street art. I was always fascinated by how happy I would get by seeing an unexpected piece of art on the street. When I was in College I would hide little cards around the city with an inspirational quote and the words, "To Brighten Your Day." I thought of it more as a random act of kindness that "street art." How long have you been crocheting?
I started crocheting when I was thirteen. I learned from my best friend's Mom and it stuck with me. I was a ballet dancer growing up and very active, so I think crocheting was a perfect balance to my life. I would crochet scarves for all of the girls at my dance studio. Most of them were Nutcracker themed and I would sell them at fundraisers and different events in my community.
Photo credit: @cdre.art
Do you ever collaborate with other artists?
I love collaborating with different artists. There's always so much to learn from other creatives. One of my favorite collaborations was with hundreds of street artists in Glen Cove. We all got together, thanks to First City Project, to transform an abandoned mansion from the 1800's into a graffiti and street art mecca. Your art is generally up for a week or sometimes longer- how do you feel about that sense of impermanent art. What has been up the longest so far?
My work can be up for a couple hours or a couple months! It really just depends on the piece and the neighborhood it is located in. I am okay with this unpredictable timeline because I'm happy knowing it was there for a moment in time. Also, in the age we live in with social media, as long as I can take a photo, it is being documented for years to come.
There's a yarnbomb up in Bushwick of "The Little Prince of Bel-Air'. As of this month, it's been up for two years! The very first tree I yarn bombed on Dekalb Ave and Marcy Ave in Bedstuy is also still up. It's been so long that the crochet has become one with the tree. It's pretty interesting.
You were a contestant on The Amazing Race. How did you become involved with the show and is there more for you regarding reality TV?
I was! It was an experience of a life time. I've always been a super fan of the Amazing Race. I randomly met the host of the show at a sushi restaurant in LA last year, and a few weeks later got a call asking if I'd want to audition. It was a dream come true. No reality TV lined up as of now. Back to crocheting full time!
A little bird told me you are coming up with your own brand of yarn. Is this true and who are you working with?
I can't say much about that right now, but stay tuned. 2018 will be the best year yet!
Where can our readers learn more about both you and your work?
You can keep up to date with all I'm doing through my personal website, www.LondonKaye.com or through my instagram @MadeByLondon.