Anti-knitting letters amuse campaigner
Annie MacKenzie has been collecting anti-knitting letters to the Nelson Mail – from outraged residents – with amusement.
The 25-year-old Canterbury School of Fine Arts graduate has taken the reins as project co-ordinator of the graffiti knitting tier of the Dress Nelson campaign.
She thinks knitting winter woollies for the city's trees and lamp posts is a great way to liven up the city, but the concept has raised the ire of some Nelsonians.
"It can't be for real!" they write in letters to the paper.
"What a waste!
"Lamp posts and bike stands don't need to be kept warm."
They say knitting is a "tatty" way to dress the city and implore that people knit beanies for earthquake victims in Christchurch instead.
Ms MacKenzie, a quake victim herself, says she finds the letters "quite amusing".
She lost two jobs in the chaos, one of which was her "dream job" at The Physics Room – a contemporary art project space.
Last week she started a series of regular knit-togethers that will continue until the big "dress up" in mid-September.
She says graffiti knitting is not new, but it's addictive.
She is surprised by negative attitudes to the project, but says it goes hand-in-hand with urban art.
"This idea of urban art is new for Nelson ... I have been surprised by the amount of negative stuff, but I'm not fazed by it.
"I think under the hummus and all the tree planting there's a bit of a conservative streak."
Ms MacKenzie was heavily involved with a creative urban regeneration project in Christchurch that started after the September earthquake.
Gap Filler aims to temporarily activate vacant city sites within the damaged city with things such as live music, performance, dance, film and urban art.
"It's just to liven up life for people and get their minds off the whole earthquake thing."
The project was "done off the smell of an oily rag" at first, but is now funded by the Christchurch City Council.
Ms MacKenzie continues to get nasty emails from people who despise the graffiti-knitting idea here, but does not care.
She says we all have the right to express ourselves creatively.
"It knits the community together and it's not just about the act of knitting ... it's about enjoying each other's company."
Donations of materials are still being accepted at the Nelson Mail's office on Bridge St and regular knit-togethers are being held from 7pm to 9pm at The Free House on Tuesdays and 2pm to 4pm at the Red Art Gallery on Thursdays.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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