ALL ARTS Documentary Selects

FULL EPISODE

Yarn

Meet the artists who are bringing yarn out of the house and into the street. This documentary profiles circus performers, wool graffiti artists and interactive designers as they re-invent our relationship with this colorful threaded tradition.

AIRED: February 14, 2021 | 1:16:20
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

Kingsolver: Everything starts, of course,

with the sheep and the grass.

[ Wind whipping ]

Beneath her greening scalp, the earth frets and dreams

and knits herself wordless.

Between her breasts,

on all hillsides too steep for the plow,

the sheep place little sharp feet on invisible paths

and lead their curly-haired sons and daughters

out onto the tart green blades of eternal breakfast.

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

[ Bleating ]

♪♪

[ Chuckle ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

[ Clapping ]

♪♪

♪♪

[ Birds chirping ]

♪♪

♪♪

Kingsolver: Wool is a stalwart crone who remembers everything,

while emptyhead white-haired cotton forgets.

And in spite of their various natures,

all these strings can be lured to sit down together

and play a fiber concerto whole in the cloth.

♪♪

Creatures never known to converse in nature

can be introduced and then married right on the spot.

♪♪

[ Speaking foreign language ]

[ Conversing in foreign language ]

♪♪

Renata Przemyk: ♪ Babe zeslal Bóg

♪Raz mu wyszedl taki cud ♪

♪Babe zeslal Bóg ♪

♪Cos innego przeciez mógl ♪

♪Zeby dobrze zrobic wam ♪

♪Zeby dobrze zrobic wam ♪

♪Babe zeslal Pan ♪

[ Laughing ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

Kingsolver: The spindle is your altar,

you are the matchmaker, steady on the treadle...

♪♪

...fingers plying the helices of a beast

and its unlikely kin,

animal and vegetable, devising your new

and surprisingly peaceable kingdoms.

♪♪

The rhythm you find is from down inside,

rocking cradle, heartbeat, ocean.

Waves on a rockless shore.

♪♪

[ Clacking ]

♪♪

♪♪

[ Alert beeping ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

[ Man speaking foreign language ]

Aah!

[ Laughter ]

[ Clapping ]

♪♪

It's a show about -- it's calledKnitting Peace

and it's about knitting, in a way,

but more about ropes and yarn,

mostly yarn, and how yarn can represent different things.

It's, in a way, kind of like a metaphor for life,

how yarn can be very simple, just a string,

or how it can be tangled

or how it can be very organized

and knitted into a very complex pattern.

♪♪

Knitting is creating something out of a string,

just like you ad nothing to the string.

You make string go in a certain pattern

and it creates something

I mean, like it's kind of like origami as well.

I add nothing to this paper.

Like all I'm doing is essentially

changing the memory of the fibers,

so that they remember that they fold that way,

and then that way and that way,

until it collapses [ Cluck ] and it gets flat.

Same with the thread, that you can --

It can create anything, any sort of pattern.

♪♪

Kingsolver: Soon they are lining up,

friends and family all covetous of the bespoke,

because your best beloveds are human after all,

and not off-the-rack.

[ Music-box lullaby plays ]

You can envelop each of them in the bliss of a perfect fit.

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

Ahh.

Toshi was doing exhibition pieces and was quite well-known,

but when she started moving in this direction,

most of the art world was not interested in this kind of work.

There was a long lag time

between those first large-scale projects

and then, it was 10 years later

before another opportunity arose.

And that was a project for a government park,

a national park in Japan,

and that's a very different kind of piece

because they don't think of it as an art piece.

It's playground equipment, in their mind,

but a different kind of playground equipment.

I mean, to us, we don't really separate it.

It's a different textile structure,

behaves somewhat differently,

but there's a lot in common between the two types.

So, almost until this piece,

we were working in the context of parks.

♪♪

[ Wind whipping ]

Kingsolver: It all starts with the weather.

Comes a day when summer finally gives in

to the faintest freshet of chill and a slim new light

and just like that, you're gone.

The signs wink at you from everywhere:

sticks of kindling in the fire,

long white brushstrokes of snow on the branches,

this is the whole world calling you

to take up your paired swords

against the brace of the oncoming freeze.

The honkling chain gang of boastful geese overhead

that are fleeing warmward-ho, chuckling over their big escape.

[Spanish music plays ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

[ Contended sigh ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

Kingsolver: Fingers can coax and read and speak,

they have their own secret libraries

and illicit affairs and conventions.

Twined into the wool of a hearty ewe on shearing day,

hands can read the history of her winter:

how many snows,

how barren or sweet her mangers.

For best results, stand in the pasture

and throw your arms around her.

[ Laughs ]

See? Small, no?

No. It's perfect. I'm going to show it here.

You're so pretty!

So good, so good!

It looks so good!

Looks so good, right?

Woman: iGuapa!

But this sticking --

Right? It's good.

Don't worry. You won't die.

-No? -I won't let you die.

Mwah!

Oh!

iPor favor!

[ Laughter ] Oh!

♪♪

[ Camera shutter clicks ]

Yeah.

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

What is he looking at?

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

[ Laughter ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

Kingsolver: Sometimes it starts terribly.

With the injury or the accident

or the wrecked life flung down like an armload

of broken chair legs on your doorstep.

♪♪

Here lies the recuperation,

whose miles you can't even see across,

let alone traverse.

Devil chasm of woe uncrossable by any known bridge.

Today she commands you to make something of all this.

And to your broken heart's surprise, you do.

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

Alex: It's a show about striving

and how people strive in different ways,

for different things in life,

either strive to get better or strive to be healthy,

strive to be rich and famous, strive to be --

Everybody has different ways of striving.

♪♪

♪♪

Matleena: It was very important for me to stop thinking of myself

as a circus artist who is onstage

and shows you what I can do, so you, in the audience think,

"Oh, she can do this. It's wonderful."

I wanted to be a circus artist or a person onstage

to, more, let you feel with me.

I show my struggle and, hopefully, you feel it

and maybe get connected with your struggle.

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

And the stairway that came, it was one dream that I had.

I think it's the unconscious dream

that I'm trying to go really fast,

but everything is just --

that I'm climbing very fast, but everything is just falling,

so I have to be really fast up,

not to fall with the --

with the stairs.

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

Alex: My main act is divided in three parts...

♪♪

...and it is, in a way, a metaphor for a situation,

people or myself -- I was in that situation

and people often find themselves in that situation in life,

where you're very tangled

between either your thoughts

or your heart, or both,

between what you know you should do,

but you don't want to do,

or what your heart wants to do

and how you are in that situation,

how you have to make certain decisions

to be able to move on.

♪♪

Then, how you overcome the situation

and get free from it and can move on in life.

♪♪

Everybody will get a different picture of the show,

depending on what their life experience has been.

And that's kind of what you want,

to throw out some questions,

give a lot of images and feelings and emotions,

and then let people draw their own conclusions.

♪♪

[ Cheering and applause ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

[ Whistling and applause ]

♪♪

♪♪

Kingsolver: The arresting helical twists of a double cable,

a gusset, a hexagon, a spiral, a fractal, an openwork ladder,

an aran braid, a chevron and leaf,

the eyes of the lynx, the traveling vines.

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

Charles: It's very much like a spider's web

and it does the same function.

It's just on a larger scale.

♪♪

Spiders use like seven different types of silk.

They're like scaffolding sort of cables

that are comparable to the edges of --

It's quite remarkable, the similarities.

And nylon is based on spider silk

or, you know, it was a synthetic version of silk, right?

It was meant to replace silk and first used widely

in the Second World War to make parachutes

when they didn't have access to silk from the Far East.

So, I mean,

there is a lot of connection with insect architecture.

♪♪

♪♪

[ Laughs ]

♪♪

♪♪

Kingsolver: It begins the first time you take the familiar map in hand,

scowling it over with all best intentions,

then throw it over your shoulder [ Meows ]

and head out to uncharted waters where there be monsters.

[ Meowing ]

Only there will you ever discover

the promised land of garments heretofore undevised.

You with your needles are god of this wild botany.

[ Birds chirping ]

[ "Viva la Vida" plays ]

♪ Ooh ooh ooh

♪♪

♪Sin medida ♪

♪Que la vida ♪

♪Se olvida, no ♪

♪Si la vive ♪

♪Sin medida ♪

♪Se tiene que recordar ♪

♪Que la vida es una película ♪

♪Que se cree a su final ♪

♪Que la vida ♪

♪No se olvida ♪

♪Si la vive ♪

♪Sin medida ♪

♪Que la vida ♪

♪Se olvida, no ♪

♪Si la vive ♪

♪Sin medida ♪

♪Dále a tu cuerpo cosa buena ♪

♪Que la via e' pa' vivirla ♪

♪♪

[ Horn blaring ]

♪♪

♪Que la vida ♪

♪No se olvida ♪

♪Si la vive ♪

♪Sin medida ♪

♪Que la vida ♪

♪Se olvida, no ♪

♪Si la vive ♪

♪Sin medida ♪

♪Oh oh oh oh oh ♪

♪Viva la vida ♪

♪Oh oh oh oh oh ♪

♪Viva la vida ♪

♪Oh oh oh oh oh ♪

♪Vive la vida ♪

♪Oh oh oh oh oh ♪

♪Vive la vida ♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪Que la vida e' ♪

♪Lo que el corazón te pida ♪

♪Que la vida e' ♪

♪Lo que el corazón te pida ♪

♪Oh oh oh oh oh ♪

♪Viva la vida ♪

♪Oh oh oh oh oh ♪

♪Viva la vida ♪

♪Oh oh oh oh oh ♪

♪Que viva la vida ♪

♪Oh oh oh oh oh ♪

♪Que viva la vida ♪

♪♪

♪♪

Kingsolver: Colors are fertilized in-vitro with the careful spoon

and the potent powder weighed to the iota,

and born by baptism

in the big dye kettle hauled onto the stove.

♪♪

Flaccid beige hanks backstroke listlessly in the boiling ink,

waiting to be born again.

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

Kingsolver: It's all the same wherever you go --

the river is rife with doldrums and eddies,

the waiting room, the plane, the train,

the learned lecture, the meeting.

The PTA the town council

the school board the bored-board,

the interminably haggled items of the agenda.

Your feet want to run for their lives,

but your fingers know to dig in the bag

and unsheathe their handy stays...

the smooth paired oars,

the sturdy lifeboat of yarn.

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

Speaker: Whoa!

♪♪

♪♪

Narrator: Stay very alert.

The shark is an alien creature

that has the capability of inflicting serious injury.

It is important to behave appropriately

and evaluate any potential danger carefully.

A shark is unlikely to attack, unless it is provoked.

You should remain calm

and, if a shark approaches you, do not thrash around.

If you're not like a very confident snorkeler,

you just keep it in

because you're not going to go very deep,

anyways, so it doesn't matter.

Speaker: And it's rare to have them logging.

I would rally.

You're going to have a much better shot of them on the bow.

Like that's so close. So close.

My goodness!

Speaker: Take a look. They're right under the boat.

Can't wait. You got to be ready to go.

Your mask is a little too tight.

-That's what I'm thinking. -Yes.

You want it loose, actually.

Aaaaah! There you go.

For this project, we had invited Olek

to be part of World Oceans Day Hawai'i

and she was our guest artist.

And, after the event had ended, we came to the Big Island

to film

the crochet mermaid interacting with marine animals here

off the coast of the Big Island.

We're going to be shooting.

Everybody stay behind me.

Make sure that she's comfortable

before we just pitch her out.

So we're to stay on each side of her

and let her kind of drop in the water a bit

and you guys hold on to her as she drops.

Are you listening?

Okay. That sound okay?

If you ever see me doing this,

you might be doing something

that makes me wonder if you're okay or not.

-Okay. -I'm asking you a question,

"Are you okay?"

Just touch your head that you're fine.

Everybody do it. Touch your heads.

Anything like this,

I'm assuming you need assistance.

Badly.

Yeah. [ Laughs ] Alright?

But sometimes you see people --

Ahisa: We had been collaborating with Olek

for several years, already,

and invited her, now, to come to Hawaii

as part of World Oceans Day, Hawai'i.

And we thought it would be an excellent opportunity

for her to experience the Big Island,

experience the animals that live in the ocean

surrounding the islands,

and create a project that is very unique

and aims to raise awareness

for the state of the world's oceans.

[ Wails ]

Break a leg.

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

I've already combed it, but not very much.

-Okay. -And you use this hand,

your left hand, to sort this out.

You can see it's beginning to spin.

And feeding at the same time.

I'm holding like this. Okay.

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

Good.

♪♪

Yeah. It's working.

[ Wind whipping ]

Kingsolver: This is all your business.

Hands plunged into a froth of yarn

are as helpless as hands thrust into a lover's hair,

for they are divining the grass-pelt life

of everything: The world.

The sunshine, heavenly photosynthetic host,

sweet leaves of grass all singing the fingers electric

that tingle to brace the coming winter.

It's all of a piece. All one thing.

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

STREAM ALL ARTS DOCUMENTARY SELECTS ON

  • ios
  • apple_tv
  • android
  • roku
  • firetv

FEATURED PROGRAMS

World Channel
Vienna Blood
Under a Minute
The Talk: Race in America
The National Parks
The Light
The Cardinal’s Files
The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross
Talking Pictures with Neil Rosen
Shall Not Be Denied
Room Tone
Reel 13
RECONSTRUCTION: AMERICA AFTER THE CIVIL WAR
Prideland
Prehistoric Road Trip