A Knitted Playground In Japan

On 9 June 2012, people all over the world celebrated Yarn Bombing Day (Joann Matvichuk actually founded the international Yarn Bombing Day in 2011). We have see many projects involving urban knitting in 2010, and we’ve even written a dedicated article about the trend two years ago. While some are still active knitting the city, we have focused on other projects and trends shaping the future, but Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam’s ‘Woods of Net’ project deserves special attention. Woods of Net, exhibited at the Hakone Open-Air Museum, is a structure entirely knitted by hand, designed for children to play with: children are invited to crow in, roll around and jump on the net.

The net is protected from UV lights and rain by 320 cubic meter timber structure without any metal parts. The technique was inspired by ancient woodent temples from Nara and Kyoto. It is estimated that this type of wood-only structure can last over 300 years if proper maintenance is done. The huge net hangs down from the middle of the pavilion, safely suspending children on colorful fabric. The design contains all sorts of attractions children can interact with in addition to the suspended net including swings, tunnels and cushions.

Her art was not initially designed for children, but she explains on crochettoday how she came to be engaged with children’s play:

“It all happened quite by accident. Two children entered the gallery and, blissfully unaware of the usual polite protocols that govern the display of fine art, climbed into the structure. The work suddenly came alive in ways she had never really anticipated. The fabric took on new life, swinging and stretching with the weight of the small bodies, forming pouches and other unexpected transformations, and above all there were the sounds of the undisguised delight of children exploring a new play space.”