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BOLLYWOOD MEETS BEATS
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International Fabrication
This Texas group goes global tagging cities graffiti-style—with knitting
Sitting in her Houston clothing store three years ago, frustrated with unfinished knitting projects, Magda Sayeg had an idea: to "tag" her shop's door handle with knitted fabric. Soon, she and friends began covertly decorating other public objects, from parking meters to light poles. The Knitta Please! crew had been born.

"It started very simply," Sayeg, 34, says. "There were a dozen other things in my life that I thought would become my 15 minutes of fame." But, much to her surprise, the graffiti-style knitting became something of a global phenomenon.

Wraps of knitted fabric have appeared on streets from New York City to El Salvador, and even on the Great Wall of China.

The Knittas are not the only ones decorating cities with unexpected spots of color and creativity. Mark Jenkins has turned parking meters into lollipops and placed figurines around his native Washington, D.C. London group Cutup slices billboards into hundred of squares before rearranging them into completely different images.

Knitta Please! takes a more confrontational approach to what some might think of as Grandma's hobby. "It's taking knitting and flipping it on its head," Sayeg says. "We are these girls that are in a knitting circle sipping Starbucks—we hit the streets, graffiti-style. It's still graffiti; it's something that is unsanctioned by authorities."

For that reason the group's work was initially underground, with members quoted with nicknames in the press. But nowadays, Knitta Please! no longer has to hide. In fact, their work has been featured in art exhibitions.

"When we first did this we had no idea how people were going to react," she says. "As you progress, you do find yourself doing less on the street walls, city walls, but on gallery walls. I think it was inevitable that this would happen."

Sayeg could not be happier with how it has turned out, although she is surprised with the project's success. It's become a fulltime job for this married mother. "It's taken over my life. I'm happy with that. I want to travel more, I want to tag more," she says. "I believe in it."
 
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