The River Yarners
Width approx 40cm, length approx 80 metres
The Yarned River is a crocheted, knitted, woven and decorated object 20-50 centimetres wide by about 80 metres in length. It is stored as a series of large wound bales. During community events, actions and conferences in the Central West of New South Wales, parts or all of the yarned river are unfurled to decorate or define a space. The River has made its appearance at events such as a community action outside Bathurst Regional Council Meeting to protest proposal to siphon water from the Macquarie River for a gold mine; Futurelands 2 in Kandos in November 2016 and the Heritage Trades Trail in Bathurst in Autumn each year 2017-2019. The process of creating the River can be interpreted as a form of more-than-human affinitive listening (see Engelmann, 2015) in this era we call the Anthropocene. Over the past two years, the remit of the River Yarners has expanded to include local threatened species and urban trees. These preoccupations have been reflected in the creation of knitted or crocheted animals and in banners to draw attention to trees under threat of removal (for example, London Plane trees on Durham Street, Bathurst).
The River Yarners (Wendy Alexander, Ana Freeman, Stephanie Luke, Sally Neaves, Margaret Sewell, Tracy Sorensen, Vianne Tourle, sometimes others) meet most Friday afternoons from 2pm to 4pm, to chat and add length or decoration to the Yarned River. The project began at the end of 2015 when a group of women decided to use “craftivism” to protest a proposal to siphon water from the Macquarie River at Bathurst for a gold mine in the Blayney Shire. The group has continued since then, using the time and space to speak informally about ecological and other community issues and enjoy the gentle art of yarncrafting.
See the River Yarners group on Facebook.