Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Windsor Star Article

Graffiti a stitch at a time

Nicole Drouillard is trying to fix up Windsor, but she's not using a hammer and nails or a garbage bag.

She's using yarn.

Drouillard and several of her friends have been knitting multicoloured decorations out of yarn and hanging them on Windsor's door handles, parking meters and railings.

To Drouillard, who started the initiative with her friend Samantha Cooper, they're the best kind of graffiti.

"It's art I'm putting up on a wall or a parking meter without the owner's permission, that's how I would define graffiti," she said. "It kind of draws attention to something it wouldn't have attention drawn to. ... It adds a little bit of colour, when people see it, that's different."

Drouillard's main goal is to spice up her neighbourhood. She started in early spring and usually hangs her knitted pieces outside of businesses that she thinks could use some decorations.

"It's mostly businesses that I support or my friends support or places that look like they can use a little bit of colour," she said.

The first one went up in front of Phog Lounge, and it was well received.

"I think Windsor needs it," said Tom Lucier, the co-owner of Phog. "It's so weird, because it stops so many people. Everyday I probably see a dozen people do a complete double take. People on bikes crane their necks."

Lucier sees this project as a pick-me-up for Windsor.

"I think Windsorites in general that are not involved in making the city better need to see that there are people that see the city differently," he said.

The concept for removable graffiti isn't unique. Similar decorations were knitted in cities like New York, Montreal and Ottawa.

Drouillard and her friends got the idea to knit decorations while surfing the web.

"It's something we kind of saw on the Internet, and I'm like, I think it's kind of cool. Windsor's down in the dumps. A little bit of colour might brighten it up," she said.

Drouillard, who learned to knit in Girl Guides when she was 11, can make several decorations a day.

"It's super simple. It takes me an hour maybe, so I can get several done in a day. It's just basically a rectangle. I leave a really long tail on it and sew it on whatever it's going to go," she said, adding that it doesn't take much to make.

"(It's) just two sticks and string. It's not hard. It's something anyone can do whether or not you have artistic talent," she said.

While Drouillard and her friends have seen mixed reactions to their art, they focus on the positive.

"Yeah there's a lot of people that hate it. There's a lot that are stoked on it," she said. "People like different things sometimes."


  1. How cool! What an excellent article about you and your knitting project to beautify Windsor. You should go on a tour of big cities and leave you knitting mark everywhere.