By the fifth day in Augsburg the three artists in the White Room seemed to finally be feeling the effects of too little sleep, too much complimentary City of Peace backstage beer, and an overdose of making art. Far from snoozing sweetly back at the defined by apartment though, we flew in the face of sleepiness and instead went a little bit nutty in the White Room.
After all the White Wall on the side of the stadium was filling up with our White Papers:
And we were in the newspaper having a fake breakfast on the White Room sofa, along with a rather familiar graffiti knitted flower. Yay!
Not only that but tomorrow was the big Finissage! It was all going to be over and they’d already constructed the White Wall’s evil twin, the Blue Wall, right outside our White Room haven. It was an intimidating creature, croaking “One more White Paper, Angels!” at us whenever we passed.
Well, if you’re going to stick three weary city definers in a glass box in the middle of a not-so-strange-now city, then we’re going to have to perform, no?
The reasons above explain the following:
When not cutting myself in half, for the amusement of no one but me, I also spread a little graffiti knitting happiness.
Camera-wrangling Jürgen Branz had been stalking the artists with various bits of recording technology since the whole thing began and there he was with a poor excuse for a microphone cover that resembled a long-dead rodent with mange. Deadly Knitshade to the rescue.
I got the distinct impression he was quite pleased. Though Jürgen seemed the type who was quite pleased with life in general. If he had a tail it would be constantly wagging. The first and probably only time I will ever get to yarnstorm a documentary maker who is making a documentary with me in it (even if it will only be three minutes long).
I don’t think the neon pink yarn will do him any favours though, should he need to be unobtrusive at any point in his documentary-making future…
So one more White Paper? AGH!
In the tiny hours of the morning earlier that day, hopped up on too many sausages (it’s the law in Germany that you eat sausages at least once a day. Fact), too much beer and too little sleep, I had googled the city I was defining and I had found a news story worthy of stitching. It had more action than an entire series of 24 and more animal-based chaos than Jim Henson’s Creature Workshop. It had a hero, it had horrifying death, it had WILD BOAR!
Ladies and gentleman, the action-packed yarn of Augsburg’s Wild Boar Five!
Bloodbath in Augsburg: Wild Boar Incursion Ends in Tragedy
An urban excursion ended in tragedy for a group of wild boar in the Bavarian city of Augsburg. Of the five boar who stumbled into the historic city center on Wednesday morning, only one returned to the forest alive.
The boar intrusion caused consternation in the city center and prompted a large-scale operation by the fire department and police. The city’s official hunter was called out to deal with the porcine marauders.
One animal collided with a car on a main Augsburg street around 6 a.m. and died. The four other animals fell into a river and swam upstream. One boar injured itself and took cover in part of a weir. It could not be rescued and the city hunter was forced to shoot it. Two other animals also drowned in a weir and were recovered by fire department divers.
The lucky fifth porker was caught alive by the fire department and was released into a nearby forest outside the city. No humans were injured in the mayhem. It was not clear how the Augsburg group had managed to get into the downtown area.
It’s a tragic tale but at least one our hammy heroes makes it in the end. I loved that it was such a crazy event it ended up being reported in national press. Those were some pigs! They deserved to be immortalised in sneaky stitching style, dammit!
And so I went shopping and found the perfect yarn for stitching soon-to-be-slaughtered swine:
Purled porcine maurauders coming up!
First I knit the skins (with a little knitting help from Kaja Marie’s magic needles too). It took me all day and all night. I finished knitting at about 3am.
I added eyes and sewed on ears and noses till about 4am.
Then I inserted the innards. Not anatomically correct but I was working out of my travelling shoebox of crafty essentials (it is a place of wonder and many eyes). Hence five balloons and five heavy pebbles pinched from a nearby water feature…
A little huff puff huff puff huff. Inflating pigs at 4.30am; not the easiest of pastimes I can tell you.
At 5.15am when all of Augsburg slept (and Keiko had gone home after finishing her White Paper and amusingly finding time to film me blowing pigs up before she left) I herded my woolly Wild Boar out into the city.
Since so much of the action had taken place in the water, there really was only one place for my porcine pals. It would mean getting my feet wet…
For those of you who might wonder what it feels like to get into a freezing cold fountain in an unfamiliar city as the sun comes up, while you are carrying five inflatable woolly Wild Boar and a pretty expensive camera, wonder no more. It’s slimy, it’s scarily slippery and it’s chilly but it’s a hell of a way to wake yourself back up after a sleepless night of knitting. Brrrrrr!
And so I placed our handmade heroes:
And there they stood. Proud purled porcine marauders at the feet of Augsburg’s Manzubrunnen fountain on Königsplatz!
(You can hear what the fountain sounds like on this web page. To add the rest of your senses to the ‘Manzubrunnen yarnstorm experience’ feel free to put your feet in a cold bucket of algae-riddled water too).
The statue has since been moved to make way for shiny new city bits too so it seemed a fitting place to pose the porkers.
I shoved shoes back onto damp feet and padded tiredly over to the White Room to conjure my final solo White Paper. As I only had half an hour the printer decided to stop working, my memory stick refused to transfer the file (I swear I heard tinny computerised cackling), and I misspelt the name of the city I was defining because I had to type out the news story rather than cut and paste. Curse you technical difficulties!
But conjure a White Paper I most certainly did. And here it is:
As always you can head over to the defined by website where they’ve kindly uploaded the hi-res version for your eyeballs to see.
Back to the apartment for 30 minutes sleep. I had been promised beer for breakfast. I could only hope it was true…
While I was furiously knitting my fellow artists made some rather lovely White Papers too:
Keiko fell in love with Augsburg’s second-hand treasure trove shop, Contact. To prove this love she sewed together a skirt from parts of clothes she found there and made a White Paper about it.
Due to a sudden downpour at about 3.30am Keiko stayed to make an extra White Paper. In her tiredness she broke out the exclamation marks. It’s one of my favourite White Papers because of the amount of giggling emanating from her side of the table while she made it. VIVA UPCYCLING! I LOVE CONTACT!
Keiko’s Contact Upcycled Skirt
Keiko’s Love Letter to Contact
My good friend Kaja Marie stayed until just after 1am. She spent the day making Norwegian poetry from the same news story she had made English poetry from the day before.
She also created a whole fairytale for Augsburg inspired by the city’s strrrrrrrrrrretched buildings. Her idea was illustrated by the scarily talented Lucia Götz (her website should be up soon), who happens to be the girlfriend of lab binaer’s Martin. I watched Kaja Marie’s fairytale grow from the first day we arrived. It was amazing to see it come to life through her words.
Kaja Marie’s Norwegian White Out Poem
(A woolly hug to Norway today too. Oslo has had an awful day. My thoughts are with you)