On Saturday afternoon, another of Berkeley’s permanent structures was given a woolly makeover — as yarn-bombing artist Streetcolor and her assistant went to work on the bike rack in front of the former Black Oak Books store on Shattuck Avenue.
A crowd gathered to watch the creation come to life, and Streetcolor tells us many of them made a point of thanking her for what she did for Berkeley. “We were touched. A lot of people stopped and watched. And talked to us. We came out at two in the afternoon on Saturday so we could have a lot of interaction,” she says.
Given the nature of her work, Streetcolor wants to remain annonynous. However her blog documents her projects, which have appeared in Oakland, San Jose, Palo Alto, Sacramento — even Paris. “We don’t mind being known visually as long as no one takes our picture,” she says. On Saturday her cover was somewhat compromised. “Friends were driving by and yelling our real names out the window of their cars. ‘No!’ I would yell. ‘Call me Streetcolor!” she says.
Streetcolor chose this latest location because, she says, she had wanted to knit over a long wavy bike rack for a long time. “I had been looking all over Berkeley for one that was spaced in an exciting way. And one I would see regularly.
“I go to The Cheese Board, and The Farmers’ Market on Thursday, so I look at that bike rack a lot. When we put up a yarnbomb in Berkeley it’s like decorating my home. You know it’s fun to rearrange the furniture.”
In November, Streetcolor decorated the stop sign at the intersection where 5-year-old Zachary Cruz was killed in February 2009. Her colorful coverings have also popped up on Fourth Street, in the Elmwood and on Adeline. “A lot of the pieces are getting pretty aged,” she says. “We will probably start taking some down and hopefully re-bomb.”