Ýrúrarí is a textile designer based in Reykjavík, Iceland. Her work comes mostly through knitting; adding knitted 3D elements to second hand sweaters has been the theme of her work for the past few years. Coronavirus has led her into knitting face masks, so we caught up with Ýrúrarí and asked her about this process…..
I started making my knitted masks in the beginning of April when the virus was at its peak here in Iceland, but we are very lucky on how well we‘re recovering from it. Before the change of the everyday I was working on a big show of upcycled sweaters collaborating with the second-hand stores of the Red Cross of Iceland for Design March in Reykjavík. Design March got delayed until the end of June, and now after this mask adventure I’m putting my focus back to that project.
The idea evolved from my former sweater creations, where I transformed something normal and everyday into my art pieces, using second hand sweaters like empty canvas. But now face-masks are becoming such a necessity and part of our life I thought it could be interesting to translate my ideas into that form, inspired by current events.
I was not expecting to connect well with the form of the face mask, but it makes sense, I do use forms of the face and expressions a lot in my usual work. So before really noticing it I had already made a small line of knitted face-mask. In my mind it was just a pet project to keep on creating and doing something, and I was not expecting them to become so popular and being written about all around the world, I’ve seen articles in Russian, Japanese, Polish, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic and more!
I didn’t really make the masks to wear, in my mind they are more like wearable sculptures, not made for safety more as a fun approach to the rule of keeping distance, if you look scary enough people will stay away!
The masks could work as fashionable covers over the real deal facemasks, but then, I‘m not selling them….People have started to use my experimental DIY tongue knitting pattern I have on my website. People with basic knitting knowledge can easily transform that pattern to something similar to my masks. And is there anything better to do than maybe calm down and knit right now?
I‘m very happy with the responses for my masks, and they seem to give people some laughs, smiles and maybe the occasional eye rolling, which is just fantastic, this is a good time to spread out some joy while we keep on following all safety measures, take care of each other and wait for this to end.