IT'S a pattern that has not been tried before: take some of Banksy's guerrilla street art, multiply it with a cult craft movement from North America, and set it in a beautiful outdoor space in Glasgow.

And what do you have?

A 'CraftBomb' that is set to ignite an explosion of colour in the Botanic Gardens.

Dozens of local crafters, artists, arts groups and community clubs are pooling their resources to bring the West End's green oasis to life.

They have been brought together by Voluntary Arts Scotland to showcase their skills in an unprecedented way.

Instead of limiting their creations to knitted jumpers, wall art for the home or maybe handmade greetings cards, they are using the trees, flower beds, benches, grassy expanses and even the Kibble Palace's fish pond as their blank canvas.

Under cover of darkness tonight, the crafty types plan to descend to set up their installation of woollen flowers, crocheted animals, knitted bunting, origami birds and fabric fish.

The result will be revealed to the public by daylight tomorrow – which will lead to a day of free, drop-in craft workshops.

The handmade additions to the gardens will be on display to the public until May 19.

The concept is inspired by the 'yarn-bombing' and 'guerilla knitting' artists who soften the hard edges of public places with intricately-knitted woollens.

The earliest examples of knitted public art have been traced to Holland in 2004, but Texan shop owner Magda Sayeg is widely regarded as the mother of the guerrilla movement through her desire to inspire people "to beautify their surroundings through knitting".

The urban phenomenon has since caught the imagination of craftmakers across America, Canada and further afield.

Knitters have transformed street furniture, statues, trees, bicycles, telephone boxes and even buses with colourful yarns.

One knitter from Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Yorkshire made the news last year after a 50-yard Olympic-themed scarf adorned with models of athletes appeared overnight on a pier.

Voluntary Art Scotland's events officer Cassandra Barron says: "It's something that is quite popular now.

"It is a way for people to reclaim back public space – the outdoors being a gallery for people's work.

"We were trying to think of a way to open it up so that people from any craft from could get involved.

"We want to be inclusive, so we thought the CraftBomb would be a really nice idea."

The event will launch Voluntary Arts Week, which aims to promote the activities of amateur arts and crafts groups across the UK and Ireland.

The week-long celebration of arts and crafts was piloted in Glasgow in 2011 before being extended to England, Ireland and Wales last year.

Many of the items that will be on display in Glasgow were made in free workshops held at the Botanics last month.

Ms Barron adds: "We want to highlight different participatory arts and crafts activities, because often people don't know what is happening right on their doorstep.

"We hope people will stumble across this, see that it is part of Voluntary Arts Week, and that might lead them to look up what is happening in Glasgow.

"We have had a number of e-mails from people who are being secretive about it.

"This is the thing with yarn-bombing and guerrilla knitting – we don't necessarily know who's made what.

"People are going to bring things on the day and even we don't know what they are."

l The CraftBomb is tomorrow, 10am–4pm.


Jules Robertson already has a track record for yarn-bombing – she knitted colourful displays to welcome footballers to Hampden during last year's Olympic Games.

"We are flattered to know we got the right North Korean flag!" says the 43-year-old, from Shawlands, right.

Under the banner of her company Frayed At The Edges, which she launched in 2010, Jules worked with fellow arts groups, including Scattercraft and Make It Glasgow, to make the route to the stadium come alive with the colours of the national teams taking part.

A specialist in embroidery and upcycling of textiles into accessories, Jules combines her work as a freelance workshop host with commissions from private clients.

"I think people are going to be surprised how much better the Botanics is going to look," she says.


What started as a fun way for Iona Barker to share her love of sewing with others has, over the course of three years, became one of the most popular craft meeting places in Glasgow's West End.

Say It Ain't Sew is a weekly class that meets every Tuesday in Hillhead Bookclub, Vinicombe Street.

Iona, 27, on the left of picture on right, is a graduate of fashion business from Glasgow Caledonian University and she combines running the classes with working as a freelance costume designer for arts companies, including the Pavilion Theatre, Tramway and Falkirk Community Trust.

"I didn't think it would go on the way it has," says Iona, who has made colourful fabric fish to adorn the railings of the Kibble Palace pond.

"I teach basic hand-sewing methods.

"It's for beginners mostly, but I do have lot of people who have been coming for three years and have built up their skills."


After spending 10 years working in the financial services sector, medieval languages graduate Ashley Holdsworth, left, realised it was not the career path for her.

"I hit 30 and realised I could not carry on working in that industry if I wanted any sort of happy life," says the 38-year-old, who lives in Calton.

Three years ago, she set up Make It Glasgow, which offers regular classes in sewing, knitting, crocheting and hand-spinning.

She also works on a freelance basis to create bespoke clothing, furnishings and costumes.

In addition to providing brightly-coloured dinosaurs lurking in the undergrowth of the Kibble Palace, she will host a free workshop in beginners' crochet at the CraftBomb.

Ashley says: "It is an inclusive event.

"It is not a case of us dictating what happens or what goes on – we want people to get involved with the project.

"We want them to contribute things of their own."

MEET the crafty creatives who are doing for knitting and sewing what Banksy did for spray paint. MAUREEN ELLIS talks to the guerrilla craftmakers set to transform Glasgow Botanic Gardens this weekend in a riot of handmade colours



Eilidh Graham does not even need to open the box of tricks on her customised bicycle before children flock to it.

The 26-year-old, of Shawlands, runs children's workshops from her custom-made mobile entertainment centre.

Using a bike bought from the Common Wheel bike project in Bridgeton, the community arts graduate travels around the city to entertain youngsters with arts and crafts activities and circus games.

She will be hosting bike decorating workshops at CraftBomb.

Eilidh says: "I normally do crafts with little kids, making things out of toilet roll tubes or making purses out of juice cartons.

"I have another friend who has a bike with a sewing machine, so we might also make some bunting out of old scraps of material."


The painted bugs, patterned butterflies and pom-pom flowers that will populate the trees and hedges of the Botanics have been made by Ayrshire pupils, but they are all down to templates created by Rebecca Glen.

The freelance visual artist, 28, who graduated from Glasgow School Of Art in 2009, travels around Scotland to host workshops in printmaking.

She also hosts a monthly networking night, Creative Banter, at the Clutha Vaults, Stockwell Street.

Rebecca, of Kilbirnie, says: "It teaches people new skills, it's relaxing and accessible to all different ages and abilities."