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Knit one….it’s a pearler

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WinterKnits adorn the Ballan CBD area. Photo - Helen Tatchell

By Meg Kennedy

Ballan’s main street is set to transform into an array of winter fuzzies for the next few months.
The former ‘Black Nite Black Lite’ winter art event will now become ‘WinterKnits,’ which will see Inglis street undergo a “yarn-bombing” as the cold weather draws closer.
Trees, fences, verandas and more along the main street will be draped in various knitted artworks until late August.
The new endeavour is the brainchild of local artist Lou Callow and community group Wombat Arts, which were behind the Black Nite event.
WinterKnits co-ordinator Carmel Hunter said the change of theme was due to the immense amount of work needed to undertake Black Nite annually.
“For Black Nite, every artist has to come up with a new theme every year, so that’s a lot of work for an artist that doesn’t even get to sell their work [at the end].”
The beginning of this year saw a teaser for WinterKnits out the front of Ballan Post Office, with some of the knitted items on display including a small dog.
“Andrew and Nicole at the Ballan post office have been absolutely fantastic…my name was left at the post office, and we have had people come out of the woodwork that I have never met before myself that have asked if they can have a tree,” said Ms Hunter.
The designs are “about half and half” from both groups and individuals, including an international addition all the way from the Isle of Wight in the United Kingdom.
Ms Hunter said the project is still a work-in-progess.
“Our street-scape isn’t finished yet but people can add to it if they wish,” she said.
Although installations officially began this past weekend, new additions for the project are encouraged, and installations on the trees will continue as winter draws upon Ballan.
“We encourage [new additions]; there’s still veranda poles that are empty, and they haven’t had anyone put their hand up, so there’s still gaps,” said Ms Hunter.
“Each individual or group has taken on whatever their tree or veranda pole as their own. They will look after it or monitor it, and they will have a little card on each tree that says who’s decorated it with their contact details.”
A flurry of colour isn’t the only thing to expect as part of WinterKnits.
Wombat Arts will be hosting a ‘Winter Solstice Walk’ in June, which will include a pilgrimage-style, lantern-led walk around town, focusing on acknowledging and learning about significant trees in Ballan.
Participants will also be provided with a free soup and bread, cooked by the Ballan CWA.
Although the WinterKnits name may give a hint of what kind of art to expect, Ms Hunter said that a variety of materials and themes will be showcased.
“It doesn’t always actually have to be wool either, [for example] artists can use textiles…one girl does photography, so she’s going to hang pictures off her tree.”
“I’m going to be blown away myself, because I don’t even know what will be on the trees, so I’m very excited.”
The winter solstice event will be held on Friday 21 June at 6pm, meeting at the Moorabool Wind Farm office. The event is free, but bookings are essential and can be made at: https://www.trybooking.com/BCKOZ.
For more information on getting involved in WinterKnits, contact Carmel on 0407 506 621 or via email at carmel@jspgroup.net.

Photos – Helen Tatchell