Yarnbombers hit Currumbin

Yarnbombed pelicans photographed by Gail Rehbein

The Currumbin yarnbombers have struck again. First, it was the beachfront banksia trees that copped it a couple of years ago. Knotty tree trunks covered with colourful threads knitted with naughtiness. Now the creekside pelicans have been hit. I rode over there on my bike to take a closer look.

Yarnbombers take to the streets and cover objects with knitted or crocheted yarn. Most yarnbombers are women who cloak trees, lampposts, bollards, bicycle racks and hand railings with crazy, colourful patterns of thread. Yarnbombing is playful protest. But the issues embedded in this peaceful activism are serious.

Beautifying bland public spaces, challenging norms about women and their homemaker crafts, and bringing attention to a specific issue, can set the yarnbombers knitting.

In 2013, the Knit Your Revolt Tricycle Gang threaded their yarn around their tricycles and bicycles and took to the streets protesting the assault on civil liberties posed by the Queensland Government’s “anti-bikie” laws. (These laws made it illegal for motorcyclists to ride in groups of three or more.) In July 2017, Knitfest knitters and crocheters will be yarn bombing the small rural town of Maleny in support of refugees seeking a new life in Australia. The focal point will be a very large tree where yarnbombing will reflect the idea of ‘Safe Harbour’.

However, yarnbombers are not always so public in their intentions. For some, being the anonymous yarnbomber, secretly spinning their threads to cover public objects, often under the cover of dark, taking the risk to engage in some public naughtiness, is part of the yarnbomber ethic. And it looks like this variety of anonymous yarnbombers have visited our creekside pelicans.

In 2004, after the annual Swell Sculpture Festival, eleven pelican sculptures were installed beside Currumbin Creek. Each sculpture sits atop a timber post and portrays a pelican composed with machinery parts. Since last week, the pelicans have been wearing knitted hats and scarves!

After quizzical looks subside, a local whodunit emerges. Who is the pelican yarnbomber? This, I admit, is one mystery I hope stays unsolved. The more interesting question is: ‘why?’

We can only guess at the yarnbomber’s motivations and message but if it’s something like looking after our local pelicans, the fish they eat, the waterways they swim in, then the yarnbombers have won my respect. But then, maybe it’s just a little reminder to rug up for winter. Either way, I’m happy to see our yarnbombed pelicans as I pedal by.

Yarnbombed pelicans photographed by Gail RehbeinYarnbombed pelicans photographed by Gail RehbeinYarnbombed pelicans photographed by Gail RehbeinYarnbombed pelicans photographed by Gail RehbeinYarnbombed pelicans photographed by Gail RehbeinYarnbombed pelicans photographed by Gail RehbeinIMG_9819Yarnbombed pelicans photographed by Gail Rehbein

Yarnbombed pelicans photographed by Gail RehbeinThanks to:

  • The Conversation for unravelling some of the mysteries of yarnbombing,
  • Artist, Richard Moffatt for The Pelicans, a wonderful piece of public art that is much enjoyed; and
  • Our mysterious yarnbombers.

12 Comments on “Yarnbombers hit Currumbin

    • Hi Heather, apparently, the idea is said to have come from Texas when a local shop owner was fed up with the bland streetscape near her shop. Some places seem to see more of it than others.

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