The Knitterati get colorful on the BeltLine

By Sandy M. Tyler

The Real Housewives of Atlanta is on hiatus until November, leaving Brigette Flood and me with time on our hands. Besides blogging, we’ve found that idle hands are also great for . . . uh, knitting.

Wanting to make a contribution to Atlanta’s most ambitious greenspace, Brigette formed the Knitterati, an eight-person group of knitters and crocheters, and received a grant to show some love to the Westside BeltLine in this year’s Art on the Atlanta BeltLine project. I was thrilled to be a part of the Knitterati’s installation … and not just because we drink whenever we knitogether.

Brigette, how did this all come about? Was it a desire to make your grandmother proud?

I was going through an infatuation with street art and started joking with my husband, David, that I was going to become a tagger. To start, I was going practice around the house – maybe tag the kitchen . . . then the bathroom. Luckily for David and the neighborhood, I discovered the work of Magda Sayeg, founder of an incredible blog called Knitta Please and mother of the yarn-bombing scene, at SXSW in Austin. I saw one of her installations and was inspired to recreate the spirit of it here.

The Beltline is one of my favorite things about Atlanta. What’s the intention behind the Knitterati’s installation, and why was it important to be a part of Art on the BeltLine?

Our artist statement says: Handmade knit and crochet tree coverings individually crafted to showcase the beauty of the BeltLine through colors and patterns as unique as the Atlanta community. Also as important is that all eight of the Knitterati live Intown, and we were excited to share our enthusiasm for the BeltLine project. It’s a big capital improvement that underscores the progress Atlanta has to make to stay viable and to evolve as a city.

What do you hope people experience as they walk through the installation? Dr. Seuss flashbacks?

We hope visitors think it’s a pretty and unexpected surprise. There are so many different techniques, types of yarns and textures. Everything should be touched as well as looked at.

Talk about the colors and patterns chosen.

There was a lot of discussion in the beginning about being more uniform with our choice of colors. We wondered if everyone should work within the same palette, but we opted against uniformity. It’s much more colorful and expressive with all of the different colors. It works well in the natural environment, and everyone was free to create their own pattern and style.

You created a huge, patchwork covering for a tree that has become the focal point of the installation. What was the inspiration behind it?

The creative inspiration was to “go big” to help set the tone for the rest of the installation, incorporating a lot of the colors we used throughout the tree grove with a whammy of visual impact. It’s like the mama tree: big and overbearing but in a good way, full of warmth and colorful love. No matter where you are in the grove, you can see it.

Just like Nene Leakes.

Ha. That tree wishes it were wearing something as fabulous as NeNe does. The knitting project installation is more hot, not haute, couture.

How can readers find the Knitterati’s BeltLine installation?

From 75/85, take I-20 West to Exit 54 – Langhorn Street. Turn right off of the exit, and follow Langhorn as it curves to the right and meets up with Westview Drive. Turn left onto Westview Drive and then make an immediate left onto Napoleon Drive. You can access the BeltLine from the cul-de-sac at the end of the street; a bright orange and purple tree sleeve lets you know you’ve found it. When you get on the BeltLine, turn right. You can’t miss it.

No matter which part of the BeltLine is near you, be sure to check out the work done by an eclectic mix of Atlanta artists. You can find a map of this year’s artist installations, as well as a list of BeltLine performances at beltline.org, or check out the Art on the Atlanta BeltLine page on Facebook.

And of course, tune in for our Real Housewives of Atlanta recap blog, starting again late this fall when the ladies come back for Season 4.

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