An Interview With Una Lorenzen, Director of ‘Yarn’

Hi friends. The Guelph Film Festival is this weekend, and it is showcasing some really incredible films this year. In addition to it’s great selection of interesting films, the festival also has some really fantastic venues (such as the Golden Bus!). The festival runs from November 3rd-6th, and even though I am unable to attend, I highly recommend you check it out.

One of the films being shown this year is Yarn, a documentary follows those who are using yarn and crochet to create art in an interesting new way. The director of the film, Una Lorenzen, tells the story of artists using are taking a stance using the creative method of yarn. In anticipation for the Guelph Film Festival this weekend, I spoke to Una Lorenzen about her film and what she hopes people take away from it.

K: Why did you decide to do a documentary about yarn? Where did you get your inspiration? 

Una Lorenzen: We were discussing what would be the next “trend” and knitting came up. From there the ball started rolling, interviewing people (men and women) and finding the right tone and theme. We wanted to capture the calming and meditational aspects of knitting as well as the texture and warmth. But the main aim was to make a colorful and fun international journey that gives us a glimpse into the “other” sides of knitting and crocheting through a few selected artists. Letting their voice be the voice of the film rather than the filmmaker voices.

K: Knitting/Crocheting is a craft that is seen as being inherently feminine; is that something you would like to see changed? 

U: I personally don´t think we need or should change the feminine connotation with knitting/crocheting, Generally I think people simply need to respect things that have feminine connotations and this film is hopefully going to help with that mindset. All handy crafts seem to be taken for granted and when it comes to fine arts, lines can get blurry and that’s what we get a glimpse of in our film, where our artists actually have different views and of course very different backgrounds and goals. In that sense our film is different because its not leaving you with one clear cut answer.

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K: If yes, what steps can we take to make it known that knitting/crocheting is for everyone? 

U: I think people need to be educated more on the history of yarn so that they will respect it better, so perhaps we need to make another doc on that. Yarn is one of the most developed raw material by men and its been used to create fine arts since the 1930, just to name a few facts that I doubt people realize (I was surprised when I learned it!).

K: Where does the trend of yarn-bombing and graffiti knitting come from? And why do these women choose yarn as the medium for their artistic expression?

U: Our artists in the film are using yarn for many different reasons, for artistic expression,  for the strenght and warmth of the yarn and in some cases because if its feminine connotation . In general yarn has become more popular because of its meditative aspect and because its connects us to our roots. We crave these things in the fast paced, technical world we live in.

K: What message is trying to be sent with the graffiti knitting? What social/political statements are these women trying to make?

U: These women all have very different reasons for what they are doing, but in most cases their yarn is creating a contrast within the environment, sometimes provoking within the “masculine” art world, sometimes softening and lightening the grey streets or the hard edged playgrounds. Finally we see the Swedish circus use the yarn string used as a metaphor for many things in life.

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K: What do you hope people take away from your film ‘Yarn’? 

U: We hope it will inspire those that have no connection to yarn, to inspire those that use yarn to explore more possibilities and to engage those that want to learn a little more about the medium and how it can be more than just that woolly jumper you have at home.

It’s also important to add that it’s not a heavy political or current affairs film as with so many documentaries today, neither was it intended to be a chronological look at the history of yarn. It’s a poetic journey where you’ll be immersed in the material and the film will take you to different countries and cultures and explore the use of yarn through four main characters who each have an immense amount of passion and depth behind their use of the medium.

Yarn is screening at Boarding House Gallery on November 6th at 3:30pm, you can find more information and purchase tickets for this or any of the other films on the Guelph Film Festival website. You can also find more information abut Yarn on their website, as well as on Twitter (@yarnmovie).

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