Crevice Communities Exhibition 2021

The River Yarners
‘Yarnbombed bench’ Bathurst 2021
Knitted and crocheted branches and leaves, wool and acrylic. Approx. 1m x 0.5m

With average global temperatures predicted to rise, urban trees are being increasingly valued for their cooling effects. However, the regional city of Bathurst in New South Wales has a dearth of tree canopy in the central business district. Many of the trees that do exist in the CBD have been earmarked for removal, with Bathurst Regional Council deeming them a potential nuisance to underground infrastructure. In 2021 the Council, which accepts the need for more shade and cooling, has installed alternatives to urban trees: a series of large planters on wheels for very small trees as well as two “sit and shade” park benches. These pieces of street furniture have climbing potted plants being trained over a wire mesh. While creating small islands of shade and amenity, ecologists have pointed out that these cannot hope to compete with the benefits of large, mature trees planted in the ground. The River Yarners, a local ecological craftivist group that has been active since 2015, are opposed to Council’s reluctance to support urban trees. During the Winter of 2021, we created a whimsical talking-point to encourage public discussion about the benefits of planting more urban trees. We knitted and crocheted a tree with colourful leaves which was then attached to the mesh of one of the “sit and shade” structures. Such unofficial action is referred to as a “yarn bomb”. It was a small action, providing a “micropolitical” encounter for passers-by before Council workers eventually took the piece down in Spring. The River Yarners are a small, quiet group and thereby consider ourselves to be a form of Crevice Community, even though we are inspired by the global craftivist movement.

Leaves knitted – Yarn bombed shade seat

After – Yarn bombed shade seat

Sally installing – Yarn bombed shade seat

From inside – Yarn bombed shade seat

Before Yarnbomb

The River Yarners – currently Vianne Tourle, Sally Neaves, Wendy Alexander, Stephanie Luke, Tracy Sorensen, Bernadette Mullaney, Margaret Sewell and Anastasia Freeman – are eco-craftivists based in Bathurst, NSW, Australia.

Provenance: Peer reviewed submission

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