Friday, February 22, 2008

The Knitted Mile: Installation Day

We awoke to a grey day this morning - about 35F/2C. This is Texas? I hadn't anticipated the need for hats and mittens on installation day, but there you are. I donned my winter coat and loaded up the car. The only hitch was that it was only last night as I lay in bed that I figured out exactly how I would be able to get all the knitting onto the road without it becoming a tangled mess (unrolling the rolls only works if you hold the rolls on their side and that proved too squishy and unstable). So, at about 8am, I was laying the knitting in the back of the car like a fire hose.

I am sure the hotel maintenance staff were thinking "¿Quién es esa gringa loca? " as they began their day's work with me carefully laying untold feet of yellow knitting into the back of my car. At about 9:30am, I was still not finished (it's hard to stitch when your fingers are frozen!) so I piled the rest of the rolls in the back and headed off to the gallery to finish the job.

Once there, we met up with Jenny, who also only just arrived in Dallas recently and who very willingly and generously offered to help out with the last bit of laying-in of the stripe. In fact, I don't think this would have come off half as well as it did without Jenny's assistance--thank you Jenny!

The car finally loaded up, we.....went inside the gallery to warm up! Isn't this supposed to be Texas? Did I say that already?

Then we headed over to the road carefully selected for its length and near total lack of traffic. For the detail oriented, it was called Hill Street from Main Street to where it meets up with N. Haskell.

Do you want to know exactly how long it was in the end? Is it important? I am tempted to not even mention it since it feels a little anti-climatic given that it felt very long. The experience of it was long in as much as we were only half way done and I was thinking "I can't believe we are only half way done!" I suppose not telling is like asking someone to take a test and never letting them know the results.

Ok, ok. it was 0.36 miles long. Do you feel differently about a mile yet?

Other random observations include:

- Some cars automatically followed the new line on the road despite the fact that it swerved across the road. One car even nearly ran off the road in order to follow the line.

- The stripe looked very convincing.

And then it would rise up slightly and twist in the wind. The road comes to life.

- Judith drove the car (heroically, btw) at 1mph while the stripe was put down. Finn and Lucy sat in the back (some of the pictures come from Lucy's camera). At one point, she went 2mph and Lucy said, "you're going fast now!" Finn said, "road rage!"

- One driver, who had observed us installing the stripe then got in his truck but stopped as he needed to cross the stripe. He, very politely, rolled down his window and asked permission to cross.

- When it came time to collect the stripe up again, we debated and decided that giant tangle was probably the best option.

The stripe now resides in the gallery, along with all the photograhs I collected from nearly all the knitters (the photo only shows about half of the photos--the other half are on the other side of the door to the next gallery).

It is hard to convey how beautiful it was. As someone other than me said, it was using the most humble means to take back something in a powerful way. It was funny and painfully lovely.

To everyone who contributed: your hands, your touch and intentions were here. We all felt it.

Thank you!

PS. I do have more pictures and video, and Shannon took many, many pictures as well. I will print out some for everyone who contributed when I get back to NYC.


island sweet said...

keith and i had tears in our eyes and lumps in our throats as we read about the installation and saw the photos. i thought about you alot today. my students were over for an embroidery class with barb and we went on your blog to update them. i told them to check this weekend - i knew there would be something for them to see... we feel honoured to have been a part of this project

Patti Blaine said...

Yay Robyn!! Thank you, thank you for letting us be a part of this! Hugs to you, Lucy and Finn. Road rage. Bwaahahah! How understated is that?

OfTroy said...

Miles and yellow stripes on the road will never be the same.

scarves of 6, or 7 or 8 feet will never seem long again.

Art helps us see the old, the normal, the everyday in a new way... it opens our eyes and minds... (and this project worked!)

christina said...

Brava! Brava! It is a deeply touching and moving moment to see this unfold in such a beautiful way on so many levels - We are all so proud of you --
Thank you for the colorful addition of Finninan's comments, of course, tempered by the ever mindful Lucy!
Enjoy your moment in the sun - you certainly deserve it -- thank you for including us all on your journey

Beth and her Spinrad said...

Yikes! ALL that and it wasn't even a complete mile? That's a LOT of knitting.

That makes me wonder how many miles of yarn I have really spun in my lifetime...

Pinneguri said...

Very inspiring :)