Monday, 13 June 2016

Colouring the Streets with Collaborative Community Art

Maleny, my local town, hosted it's first Knitfest last weekend - a celebration of yarn and fibre arts. The streets and public sculptures were decorated, the halls filled with amazing works of art and artisans everywhere holding workshops to share their skills. Even the local kids joined in - making and decorating the streets with colour.  The inaugural festival was met with a cool wintery weekend - perfect! Everyone could come dressed up in their best homemade knits!

The Maleny cows at the Obi Obi bridge.

As we explored the streets and visited the many makers, we found ourselves putting our names down to do many workshops over the coming months from basket weaving, beading, dry felting... I really want to learn how to make baskets from weedy vines, and refine my knitting skills to create useful but beautiful household items.

Many months ago, Maia and I first saw the flier for this event and it inspired us to learn how to crochet so we could get involved. I grew up sewing, had done some knitting, but never crochet. Ever since, Maia has been visiting a local fashion designer every week and learning the art of crochet and design with her, as well as refining knitting skills (I currently have an order in for some fingerless gloves - to keep my hands warm while I type here on winter nights).

Maia entered her first crochet creation in the recent Maleny Show and received an encouragement award and a lovely little travel sewing kit - she was delighted.

We are both inspired to keep making, learning new skills, sharing our creations and hopefully seeing even more amazing public yarn-bombing happening next year.


The crossing tree.

Colourful crochet on display.

Monty thought the library canon looked pretty funny like this.


The Artisan Market bicycle.


The library tree was one of the most intricately decorated tree.

The kids got to explore textiles from the animals, to the weaving to the making.

The RSL poppies.

So many amazing beanies.

...and shawls.

Fabulous weaving using weed vines.


A felting wonderland

Maia liked these little dry felting worlds ...

and these cute little knitted/beaded animals.


11 comments:

  1. Wow, beautiful, I'm in gympie and would love to come next year, how do I find out when it's on?

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    1. I suggest you like their facebook page (I linked to it in the first para of the post). Or, you'll find their contact details on the facebook page and ask them to put you on a mailing list.

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  2. Oh wow - how amazing and colourful! I keep telling myself I will learn to crochet this year..... On the weekend my neighbour showed me a basket she made ages ago using branches and strips of the 'trunks' of banana trees which is incredibly tough stuff. I also want to try making a basket or bag from lomandra leaves. I have had a bit of a go at making the rope after reading stuff on the net but a workshop is probably a better idea. Are the workshops you mentioned open to people on other parts of the coast at all and if so would you mind telling me who I can contact?

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    1. The basket workshop is 25 June in Mooloolah. $25. The artist is Pauline. Unfortunately I can't make that one, but look forward to the next. Pauline@visionwall.com.au

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  3. Oh wow - how amazing and colourful! I keep telling myself I will learn to crochet this year..... On the weekend my neighbour showed me a basket she made ages ago using branches and strips of the 'trunks' of banana trees which is incredibly tough stuff. I also want to try making a basket or bag from lomandra leaves. I have had a bit of a go at making the rope after reading stuff on the net but a workshop is probably a better idea. Are the workshops you mentioned open to people on other parts of the coast at all and if so would you mind telling me who I can contact?

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  4. Yarn bombing just makes you smile. Uncomplicated grinning happening from this post.

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  5. It was interesting to see this post after reading your one about Plastic Free July. I'm a keen fibre/textile crafter but I'm often concerned when I see "public fibre art" installations like the ones you show, knowing that most of them are made from petrochemical-based acrylic yarn. The most colourful and visible aspects of fibre art are often the most wasteful and destructive; meanwhile, people who (for instance) knit a normal-looking jumper from undyed wool from local sheep don't get noticed. I've recently noticed this at my part time, where a crochet craze has taken off and some women are spending their lunchtimes making brightly coloured acrylic scarves. Everyone one comments on them, but few people notice I'm wearing a scarf, socks, gloves, hat, or jumper that look sort of like clothes you might buy, in non-eye-searing colours like black or muted blue, that just happen to be handmade. I can't help wishing we would celebrate the natural and everyday-usable fibre arts as much as we celebrate the lurid and kitshy.

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    1. Thank you so much for bringing this point to the discussion. You are absolutely right and I agree with you - it is so easy to be distracted by the flashy, the shiny, the colourful. The Maleny show certainly had it's share of acrylic textiles, but the ones I loved the best were the gorgeous subtle earthy colours of the hand spun and natural-dyed wools from both alpaccas and sheep. The possum wool was quite amazing too.

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    2. Yes! I love that in NZ they are turning an invasive species (possums) into a luxury fibre that is appreciated worldwide. In Victoria, I love going to the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Festival where there is a whole area devoted to naturally black/coloured sheep and wool, and the craft competition requires that all entries use wool and other animal fibres. There was a lovely jumper there a couple of years ago, that had been entered in the very first Bendigo competition and was part of a historical display: a complex fair-isle jumper in very fine wool, in a variety of natural/undyed colours. So much detailed work, and so lovely! It was still in surprisingly good shape after 30 years or whatever it was.

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    3. How wonderful. I just got a few balls of Bendigo wool yesterday - just in time for a new scarf. The first frost of the season covered my place this morning. Brrr...

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