Visitors to the recently revamped Devonport wharf over the next six weeks are in for a treat. The formerly bare handrails have been transformed into a woollen wonderland, thanks to a group of guerilla knitters from around the world.
The 75 metre “Woolly Walk Along” is the brainchild of street art aficionado and Devonport local Knitty Graffity. Knitty has been involved in urban knitting, also called yarn bombing in some circles, for a while – and this is her biggest project yet.
“I started off inviting some people who I knew from previous street art projects, and ended up with pieces from more than 90 contributors in nine different countries," she says.
This international influence is reflected in the variety of themes seen in the tiny knitted stories stretching out along the wharf. The Swedish knitting team Hemskapat sent some patriotic knitted flags, and Die Extremhäklerin in Austria added a few colourful mushrooms into the mix. Knitting-geek Mostly Nerdy Crochet sent a mulberry-pink mini giant squid all the way from the United States. Closer to home, Aucklander Zippitydoodah added some tiny sheep grazing on a patch of green wool.
The pieces were sewn onto the handrails over three hours on Saturday morning, to the delight of passengers stepping off the ferry.
Crowd-favourites included Barbie in a crochet bikini, a sexily reclining woolen Dan Carter, and Maria from The Sound of Music, complete with tiny snow-capped mountains. A perfect recreation of Elmo (that furry red guy from Sesame Street) has proved especially popular with the kids.
The point of all this?
“I just want to inspire people, and show them something they wouldn’t usually see in their day-to-day lives”, says Knitty.
The Woolly Walk Along is on display for six weeks and after that, Knitty plans to auction some of the pieces on TradeMe.
“All proceeds will go to Christchurch,” she says. “Of course, it’ll depend on the condition the wool is in after being rained on.”
Even if the sun does dry out the wool, there’s still the threat of bird bombings – whether the local seagulls will respect the makeover of their favourite perch has yet to be seen.
With that in mind, it’s probably a good idea to get down to see this spectacle as soon as possible while it’s still in peak condition.