Olek | Yarn Bombing

Polish yarn bombing artist, Olek, posing with yarn bombed humans.

This is not your grandmother’s yarn-work – New York City-based artist, Olek, uses her extraordinary crocheting talents to add color to everything everywhere. Through her installations, she explores culture and draws people’s attention to important themes in today’s society. We at DeNada were blown away by her creativity and tenacity.

Olek was born in 1978 in Ruda Śląska, Poland. She graduated from Adam Mickiewicz University in 2000 with a degree in Cultural studies. While attending LaGuardia College in New York, Olek won the National Art’s Club Award for Sculpture. She began incorporating crocheting into her work in 2003 as part of a submission for the Williamsburg Arts and Historical Society Surrealist Fashion Show. Her pieces for the fashion show were a hit and ever since this early success, she has pushed the limit, crocheting practically everything in sight.

Olek gives culturally significant objects, that we may take for granted, new life. She has crocheted over statues, sculptures, billboards, people, itms on the street, and even underwater. Some of her notable works include the charging bull on Wall Street in New York City, The Albert Einstein Memorial in Washington, DC, a New York City tour bus, and underwater sculptures at the Museo Subacuatico de Arte in Cancun, Mexico.

Her work has no bounds but there is a method to her “madness.” Olek does not arbitrarily crochet over an object – she draws inspiration from films and the world around her, ensuring her projects have cultural significance. In this sense, Olek’s work is vastly different from the trending activity known as “yarn bombing.” Her purpose is to make art that makes a difference. Each piece has a deeper meaning, but it’s the audience’s job to unravel the story behind it. Scroll through the pictures below to see some of the pieces we loved at DeNada.

A photo of the Charging Bull on Wall Street covered in a pink and purple crocheted suit by Olek.

In a tribute to the original sculptor of the Charging Bull on Wall Street, who installed the bull without permission, Olek covered it with a crocheted suit. The suit was taken off by park staff two hours later. Image from Pinterest.com

A photo of Olek yarn bombing the sitting Einstein in DC.

Olek works on the sitting Einstein for the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC. Image from Pinterest.com

A photo of the completed yarn bombing Olek did on the Einstein statue in DC.

The finished Einstein in Washington, DC. Image from Pinterest.com

Olek crocheting underwater sculptures in Cancun.

Olek crochets over underwater sculptures in Cancun to promote awareness of the destructive nature of fishing practices. Image from Pinterest.com

A photo of a yarn bombed bomb sculpture underwater done by Olek.

A literal yarn bomb underwater in Cancun, Mexico. Image from Pinterest.com

A scuba diver underwater in a crocheted suit by Olek.

A crocheted scuba diver underwater in Cancun, Mexico. Olek used biodegradable fibers that would not further damage the marine environment. Image from Pinterest.com

A photo of a crocheted mermaid underwater by Olek.

A mermaid in Cancun, Mexico. Image from Pinterest.com