We’ve had painted rocks, teddy bears peeking out of windows, Where’s Wally? cut-outs, and even had a replica of one of Canberra’s iconic bus stops made entirely from cardboard.
Now enter Spoonville.
As the name suggests, Spoonville is all about grabbing an old, unwanted spoon, decorating it to look like a person and sending it to live in the spoon village with all of its friends.
The Spoonville in Isaacs has grown so big there are now more than 170 inhabitants living at Isaacs Ridge. Come rain, storms or shine – and we’ve seen all three this week – the spoons are there on the ridge to bring a bit of joy to passers-by.
And that’s what it’s all about for primary school teacher and Isaacs Spoonville creator Emma McLeod.
As a kindergarten educator, she is more aware than most just how difficult COVID-19 lockdown has been for children, and she wanted to do something to entertain them.
“I thought the kids in my area would love to see it on their daily walks and bike rides,” says Emma.
What she didn’t expect was for the spoon craze to get as big as it is now.
For the first 24 hours, the only two spoons in Spoonville belonged to Emma and her partner.
The pair did a letterbox drop around the neighbourhood and it very quickly garnered a positive response.
“It just exploded and got quite big quite quickly,” laughs Emma.
She had seen something similar during the 2020 lockdown in Mentone Beach in Melbourne, although it is thought the craze originated in England during their longer COVID-19 lockdown periods in 2020.
But while Spoonville had initially been intended for children, Emma says it ended up being appreciated by people of all ages.
“From the quality of some of the spoons, you can definitely tell they’ve been decorated by adults,” she says.
When it comes to the decorating, Emma is clear that you don’t need anything fancy. She’s seen some creators use pasta as hair, and others who use textas to decorate the spoon and draw in some features.
“I’ve also been encouraging kids to use anything they have at home so any old clothes or old wrapping paper, or even paint,” she says.
“It’s been a nice way of bringing the community together without needing to be face-to-face.”
Emma’s heard plenty of stories of Spoonville helping to get local kids out and about and excited for something “in a time when there’s not much to be excited about”.
A similar Spoonville has also sprung up in Queanbeyan. Further afield, there’s Spoonvilles in Sydney, Wollongong and other parts of NSW, as well as in the US and the UK.
Emma has also heard of local preschools and schools starting up their own local spoon villages.
When COVID-19 lockdown is over, Emma expects she will remove all the spoons so they don’t leave a lasting impact on the environment.
Let us know in the comments if you’ve spotted any Spoonvilles near you!