‘Full seam ahead’: Artist Olek crochets an entire four-car locomotive in Poland
The daily commute would be a cozy prospect if all trains looked like this. Textile artist Olek (aka Agata Oleksiak) has completed her largest piece ever, a Px48 steam locomotive and carriages covered in crochet.
The Polish-born artist worked around the clock for two days in Łódź, Poland, to cover the train in yarn. Metro caught up with her.
Metro: A yarn-bombed train – how did you ever come up with this idea?
Oleksiak: Last April, I took a train from New York to San Francisco, and the movement of the vehicle gave me the idea, “Hey, why not crochet a train?” Also, I wanted to pay tribute to famous Polish poet Julian Tuwim, whose poem ‘The Locomotive’ had inspired in the past. Then I approached the authorities in Poland and the whole operation took about three months to do.
How long it did take you to crochet the train?
Two days. My four assistants and I were working non-stop during that time, even through the night’s cold and wet weather. I created the crocheted panels in New York and simply assembled them there on the train.
You must have drunk a lot of Red Bull to keep you going… with some Polish vodka?
[Laughs] Actually I’m into healthy vegetable juices. I’m getting older and have been working and traveling a lot – living out of my suitcases for the last two years – so I have to look after myself. I do a lot of yoga as well to keep me fit.
But I must confess: during that rainy night, we had some tea doused with vodka to keep us warm [laughs].
Does your kaleidoscopic train represent anything?
For me, it stands for my home nation of Poland. I left the country 13 years ago and every time I return I see new changes. People here want change and to see new things. But we still have an older generation with an old-fashioned mentality – like the stationary train, they are not moving on. I hope to provoke the change with my art.