Urban Cozies by Night, Confederation Park

Thank you to everyone who participated in this project in February 2010! Check out the Flickr photo gallery below.

Spins & Needles, in collobaration with the National Capital Commission (NCC), presented a large-scale public art and craft installation that integrated current movements in urban art, craft and design with social media technologies. The Winterlude Urban Cozy Project transformed the wintery landscape of Canada’s capital region during one of the largest winter festivals in the world, Winterlude.

“Urban cozies” were submitted by artists, crafters and designers from across Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe. Australia, Africa and the U.S. and were wrapped around trees, lampposts, benches and other urban elements on festival grounds. As a way of connecting makers living outside Ottawa and abroad, as well as offering an off-site glimpse into the project in real time, an online photo album features photos of each contribution. Each photo was geotagged with the maker’s name, city of residence and location of cozy on festival grounds. Visitors were encouraged to contribute to the installation by participating in urban cozy-making at weekend craft lab workshops during the festival.

To continue the warm theme after the festival, cozies were upcycled into warm wearable pieces and donated to the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa and the StreetKnit initiative in Toronto.

For behind-the-scenes look at what’s going on at Winterlude and to find out our inspirations for the project, check out Spins & Needles blog Spin Off Stuff.

[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157623268357995″]


What is a cozy?

A cozy is a piece of material, usually wool or yarn, that acts as a cover or wrap that envelopes an object to keep it warm. For example, tea pot cozies are placed on top of tea pots to prevent the tea from getting cold.

Cozies can range from simple square or circular pieces (e.g. tea cozy, Ipod Cozy, tree trunk cozy, laptop cozy) to more complex ones (e.g. tree sweaters, for houses, for army tanks). A simple way of thinking about a cozy is that you are wrapping a scarf or sweater around an object.

If you haven’t made a cozy before, a rectangle measuring 30″x 8″ works for our urban cozy installation (similar to a scarf!) And urban cozies do not necessarily have to be knitted textile pieces- we are also open to non-textile pieces! (see below)

If you Google “knit graffiti” or “yarn bombing” under Google Images you’ll see some examples.

How can I participate?

There’s a few ways you can participate:

  • Cozy maker –> to make urban cozies (see below)
  • Cozy installer –> to sew together, tag and put cozies around at two Winterlude sites (if it is a large cozy, we ask you install it with us – e-mail us to let us know)
  • Cozy photographer –> to photograph cozies at two Winterlude sites
  • Cozy on-site workshop assistant –> to help out with cozy-making at weekend workshops
  • Donation of materials –> to donate any cozy-appropriate materials (e.g. wool sweaters, yarn, knitting and crochet needles)
  • We’re open to other ways!

To participate as either an installer, photographer, workshop assistant or for materials donations, or to suggest other ways of participating, please e-mail spinsandneedles[at]gmail[dot]com and indicate how you’d like to participate. (See next section for how to participate as a cozy maker).

How do I submit an urban cozy?

Submit a covering, or urban cozy, to be installed around trees, lampposts and other urban elements at two Winterlude sites: Confederation Park and Parc Jacques-Cartier.

Here’s some things to keep in mind:

  • Urban c ozies can be of varying sizes, from simple to large. If you haven’t made one before, a rectangle measuring 30″x 8″ works! (similar to a scarf!)
  • For this project we are looking for pieces that are made of wool or yarn or other textiles, but we are open to other non-textile materials as well (e.g. using plastic bags ripped into yarn/string, plastic canvas, you name it)! Just as long as it can be wrapped and secured around something like a tree or lamppost.
  • Cozies are traditionally knitted or crocheted or sewed but we’re open to other creative techniques and tools.
  • BUT If it is a non-textile material, please let us know so we can see if it is appropriate for installation.
  • Please include with your urban cozy your name, website (if applicable), e-mail address, location (city), and any special directions for installing your piece. If it is a large cozy and you are in the Ottawa-Gatineau area, we ask you install it with us – e-mail us to let us know.

There are 3 ways you can get your urban cozy to us:

1. To send your cozy by regular mail or Canada Post Xpress post, send your cozies to this address:

Spins & Needles
P.O. Box 74057
5 Beechwood Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario
K1M 2H9

2. To send by private courier service (e.g. UPS, FedEx, DHL), please e-mail spinsandneedles[at]gmail[dot]com for another address. (Please note that the above-listed P.O. Box does not accept items from private courier companies.)

3. NEW! If you’re in Ottawa-Gatineau and would like to drop it off in person, there is a drop-off box at the knit/spin/yarn store wabi-sabi in Hintonburg. They are located at 1078 Wellington Street near Holland. Their hours are 10-5 Monday-Thursday + Saturday, 10-6 Friday and 12-4 Sunday. Phone 613-725-KNIT.

If none of these ways work for you, e-mail spinsandneedles[at]gmail[dot]com to schedule a time to meet up at a downtown Ottawa location.

What is the deadline for submitting an urban cozy?

The deadline for submissions is February 1st, 2010.

Who can participate in making an urban cozy?

We’re calling on artists, crafters and the public, individuals and groups, of all ages, and all creative levels to be part of this intervention. Makers from the Ottawa-Gatineau region, across Canada, and around the world are invited! Work on it at home individually or rally some troops up!

Here’s some ideas of who and where you can rally as a group:

* Local craft group

* Craft/DIY Shops

* Schools (any grade level: primary, secondary, university/college)

* Art institutions

* Art organizations

* Nursing homes

* Library

* Bar

* Online (e.g. Ravelry, Craftster)

Hold a workshop or event in your city or even a dinner party to make the urban cozies and then send them to us!

I want to participate but I’m busy OR I don’t know how to make an urban cozy OR I don’t have any materials. Is there another way I can participate and make an urban cozy?

Yes! Spins & Needles will be hosting events and workshops around the city. You can craft up some urban cozies alongside other available winter-themed projects while listening to DJ Jason Pelletier + guests spin some beats. Events and workshops include:

* On opening night of Winterlude: Friday February 5th from 7:00-10:00 p.m. Watch for our tent on Major Hill’s Park!

* At the Crystal Lounge in Confederation Park during a “chill” late night Friday event on Friday February 12th from 8:00-10:30 p.m.

* Weekend afternoon cozy workshops during the festival at Maison Charron at Parc-Jacques Cartier from 12:00-4:00 p.m. You can whip up some easy-peasy urban cozies which we’ll add to the public installation.

All materials and instructions will be provided at these workshops and events.

What will happen after I submit my urban cozy?

Once we receive your contribution, it will be labelled with your name(s) and installed at one of the two Winterlude sites. It will be photographed in its urban winter element and uploaded on to Flickr. It will also be tagged with its physical location in either Parc Jacques-Cartier or Confederation Park.

Your next step? If you’re in Ottawa-Gatineau for the festival, look for your cozy online and stop by the Park to pay it a visit! Not in the city? Experience walking through Winterlude sites by watching the Flickr slideshow online or visit the Spins & Needles blog or to see what’s going on behind-the-scenes!

If your urban cozy is something to talk about, we’ll profile it and you on the blog as well!

Once Winterlude has ended, we’ll continue the warm and whimisical theme: urban cozies will be removed and laundered and converted/upcycled into wearable pieces (e.g. scarves, mittens) and donated to local organizations in need of warm clothing. We’ll also donate materials to artists who can use the pieces in their work. E-mail spinsandneedles[at]gmail[dot]com if you’re interested in assembling clothing or if you are an artist needing materials for your work!

Have more questions?

For more information visit www.spinsandneedles.com/winterlude2010 or e-mail spinsandneedles[at]gmail[dot]com.

For behind-the-scenes look at what’s going on at Winterlude and to find out our inspirations for the project, check out Spins & Needles blog Spin Off Stuff.

You can also check out our official social media release: Spins & Needles @ Winterlude 2010 (February 5, 2010)

Winterlude Urban Cozy Project 2010

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