Textile artist Ýr Jóhannsdóttir, who designs under the name Ýrúrarí, is making headlines for her playful and unorthodox face masks in the time of COVID-19. The artist and her “trippy” 3D knitwear masks were recently featured in Vogue.
Twenty-seven-year-old Ýr, who learned how to knit as a child in school, began to pursue her craft in earnest at Scotland’s Glasgow School of Art. She’s built a strong following on Instagram, largely through repurposing second-hand sweaters that she then knits eye-catching—or perhaps better said, mouth-watering—decorations onto.
Ýr favours tongues and mouths in her sweater décor, so it seems only natural that she’d leap to lippy, tongue-dangling knit masks. “…[I] love knitting with my hands,” she told Vogue, “and I always go back to strange faces.” She gravitates to tongues and teeth she said, “Maybe because they are kind of rude, sticky, and strange.”
There is no government requirement to wear masks in Iceland as a COVID-19 precaution, and Ýr emphasizes that her creations are strictly art pieces, and “not made for safety.” It took her two days to make her first mask, noted Vogue—or rather, a “mouth plug” featuring a long, stuck-out tongue that could be used as a “cheeky add-on to a regular mask.”
Ýr’s approach is certainly tongue-in-cheek: “Idea for a knitted add on to your face masks,” she wrote in her first mask-related Facebook post. “[M]ight also encourage people to stay away from you…”