Richmonders will likely recognize these knit-sheathed poles dappled around the city. The love bombs are the project of one artist: Knitorious M.E.G.
Next year, they’ll celebrate the tenth anniversary of leaving these public art pieces around town. We spoke with M.E.G. to learn more about their inspirations and experience in yarn as well as what’s keeping them going nearly a decade on.
After moving back to Richmond from New York City, M.E.G. was inspired to learn how to knit. They formed a crew with old friends, calling themselves K1-D2 — short for knit one, drink two — and started getting into bombing.
“I’ve always been a fan of street art,” M.E.G. said. “What I like about the yarn bombs is the unexpectedness of the knit, because it is something that is a temporary thing.”
M.E.G. has done several projects over the years, but their primary focus has been love bombs. Under cover of darkness, they install a red — sometimes pink — and white knit topped with a heart over signless street poles.
With the upcoming ten year anniversary of the love bomb project, M.E.G. wants to hit 150 installations.
“I like having a signature,” M.E.G. said. “There’s been other people who have yarn bombed here and there in town but love bombs are what I own.”
M.E.G. credits the Purple Lady of Suffolk as her street art inspiration. The Purple Lady, whose real name was Rachel Presha, was a Tidewater woman who was known for her purple house, purple clothes, and proclivity for painting telephone poles purple, as far up as she could reach.
No one knew why the Purple Lady did what she did. M.E.G. recognized the Purple Lady’s status as a figure of mystery — a character somewhat lacking in this digital age. For M.E.G., staying anonymous is less about keeping out of trouble and more about preserving that magic.
“The appeal for me is just putting it on the street and having it be something someone’s unexpectedly gonna stumble across,” M.E.G. said. “I’m pretty far in now, and I’ve been doing it so long that I do have people who see it and go, oh, there’s a new Knitorious, but there’s plenty of people who have no idea what it is or why it’s there.”
150 bombs will be a landmark in spreading the love, but it was never a set goal for M.E.G. Once that milestone is met, they expect to keep knitting.
“Who knows?” M.E.G. said. “It’s all unexpected that it’s lasted this long. Something keeps me out there doing it.”
Follow their Instagram for updates on new love bombs, and let us know if you see one on your next walk in the neighborhood to keep the Knitorious M.E.G. mystery alive.