Waikato community groups are getting out their knitting needles to take part in a district-wide yarn bombing street art project to commemorate ANZAC Day.
They are joining forces with local community houses to create knitted or crocheted poppies to cover the trunk of a selected tree in each town centre in April, taking up an idea from the Waikato District Council Placemaking Team.
Primary schools in Huntly, Tuakau, Meremere and Raglan have also been invitated to take part by knitting giant grey and red peggy squares on giant knitting needles to create an ANZAC blanket for a district art installation that will include stories about what ANZAC means for each of the communities contributing.
The idea to knit poppies originated from a project by two Australian women that ballooned into a massive carpet of 300,000 red knitted poppies created by 50,000 volunteers for the Chelsea Flower Show in the UK in May last year. That project then spawned a number of local Remembrance Day projects throughout the UK to decorate churches, trees and graveyards in November.
“The concept evokes the way in which our grandmothers knitted garments to help to keep our ANZAC troops warm, but it’s inspired by the latest international trend to use knitted or crocheted wool to create community-friendly guerilla art and graffiti. The idea is to yarn bomb public places in ways that will surprise and delight you,” says Council general manager Strategy and Support Tony Whittaker.
Working with the Ngaruawahia Community House, which is supporting the project district-wide, the Council’s Placemaking Team emailed community groups to test the idea, and were happily surprised by the number of groups wanting to take part. They are now also seeking contributions of red wool from and for those taking part, as a small supply of wool brought in to start the project is nearly exhausted.
“We’re still looking for groups to take part – it would be great to see a tree decorated in every part of the district.”
The Placemaking Team was formed to support and encourage residents to reclaim public spaces for community use, so that fast-growing townships don’t just become places for carparks and shopping centres and barren spaces in between.
There are a number of projects underway in different areas including the installation of free libraries or mini book exchanges, unique locally-designed seating and bike racks, and public art. (Gordonton has had one for over a year now – come check out our very own Book Box, which has been yarn bombed!)