20 September 2022

Floriade Yarners spin a burst of colour into Canberra communities

| Evelyn Karatzas
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The Floriade Yarners

A group of more than 50 creative Canberrans showcased their works in Holt. Photo: Bree Lawler.

More than 50 creative women joined knitting forces to bring colour to Canberra as part of the return of the capital’s favourite floral festival – Floriade.

Their project, The Floriade Yarners, began at the end of May this year as a way to meet people, form new friendships and build relationships – a struggle for many over the past two years.

One of the group’s founders, Bree Lawler, said the “pop-up” group involved women who crocheted all around Canberra.

She said it started when Jennifer Bardsley visited her Holt shop, Wattlebird Canberra, and said: “Bree, I have an idea.”

“She [Jennifer] suggested we do a yarn bomb here at the shops to add pops of colour to the space,” Bree said.

“From there, the idea just grew. I started the online Facebook group in the middle of winter, and now every two weeks, we have in-person catch-ups where we work on the project.

“We also timed it with Floriade as a Floriade garden bed is planted here at the shops, so it’s also a nice way to celebrate the opening of the installation and bring the community together.”

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Bree opened the doors to Wattlebird to host the fortnightly working bees to ensure the group had a warm, safe space to meet.

“I get very excited when I see community members getting involved in projects and helping one another,” she said.

“By starting up this pop-up group, we were lucky enough to form all these fabulous friendships too.

“Being with other creative people is just so good for your soul, and this project really reminded me of that. It’s been so nice to connect with people again after two years of on-and-off lockdowns to make something that’ll be enjoyed by the whole community.”

Bree said the group was not only creative but innovative and accepting.

“As meeting up in person was difficult, we would share on Facebook our patterns and things made. It was so amazing to see,” she said.

“It doesn’t matter if you have crocheted before or not, this group teaches you everything. It’s a very interactive and welcoming group.

“I think everyone in it is also starting to feel a lot better now about everything COVID. This project gave us some hope going into spring that we can look forward to more projects in the future. It’s just been wonderful.”

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The Floriade Yarners project at the Holt Shops will remain on display for the duration of Floriade, until mid-October.

“Our launch went really well, and we had quite a good turnout, despite the weather being a bit challenging with the cold winds,” Bree said.

“The community just loved the display because there’s so many cute hidden gems to find like dragonflies, beehives, snails, flowers and toadstools, so there’s a lot of fun, interactive things to see.

“Everyone just loved the attention, and I had such a blast being a part of this project, and I’m definitely looking forward to commencing our next project.”

The Floriade Yarners founder said there have now been discussions about what happens next with the project.

“There have been discussions about taking all the pieces created from this project and perhaps repurposing them all into blankets that we can give to various charities or organisations such as Ronald McDonald House or even hospices,” Bree said.

“The other suggestion was to perhaps use the pieces to create a wall installation to put up in a school or something like that.

“Everyone involved in the project is just so creative and passionate, and I think we’re such a good team. I can’t wait to see what happens next.”

To learn more about these upcoming projects, visit the Holt Shops Community.

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